FBI: Hate crimes reach 5-year high in 2016, jumped as Trump rolled toward presidency

The number of hate crimes reached a five-year high in 2016, taking a noticeable uptick toward the end of the year around Donald Trump’s surprise electoral college victory.

The FBI, in a report released Monday, said law enforcement agencies nationally reported a five-year high in hate crimes, with 6,121 in 2016. That’s up over 2015, which saw 5,818 such crimes reported, a near 5% increase.

However, 88% of participating law enforcement agencies reported no hate crimes in their jurisdictions, an ongoing challenge for data collection efforts. In comparison, the Bureau of Justice Statistics estimates that an annual average of 250,000 incidents of hate crime victimizations, about 40 times the number reported by the FBI.


The dots on this map represent the agencies that reported no hate crimes in their jurisdictions in 2016. Data from the FBI Hate Crime Statistics, 2016.

The most recent statistics show that 1,747 hate crimes were reported in the last quarter of the year — October through December. That figure is a 25.9% increase over the same period in 2015, when 1,388 hate crimes were reported.


Bias incidents based on religion from 2014-2016. Data from the FBI Hate Crime Statistics, 2016.

The increase further confirms the explosion of bias incidents the Southern Poverty Law Center and other civil rights organizations and journalists reported in the wake of the election.

Also of note was the steady increase in hate crimes over the year that were also likely related to the campaign. Trump campaign rallies were regularly marked by violence and reports of an increase in bias incidents at K-12 schools started during the primaries.

In fact, Trump is facing several lawsuits over his rhetoric at campaign rallies, including one in federal court in Louisville, Kentucky, which alleges that Trump encouraged supporters to remove a diverse group of protestors by yelling “get’em out of here.”

The FBI said 58.9% of victims were targeted because of their ethnicity, race or ancestry bias. Another 21.1% were picked out because of their religious affiliation and 16.7% were attacked because of the offenders’ sexual-orientation bias.

The FBI reported 381 anti-Muslim crimes, up more than 20% from the 301 reported in 2015. Anti-Jewish crimes skyrocketed to 834 reported incidents in 2016, up 16% from the 695 reported incidents the previous year.


Bias incidents by category in 2016. Data from the FBI Hate Crimes Statistics, 2016.

The bulk of reported offenders, 46.3% were white, while 26.1% were black. Nearly all offenders, 83.8% were over 18-years-old.

Most of the hate crimes were crimes against people, which accounted for 4,720 incidents. Crimes against property accounted for 2,519 incidents in 2016.

Alabama reported 12 hate crimes in 2016, with seven coming in Birmingham, three in Hoover and one each in Florence and Foley.

The full FBI hate crimes statistical report can be found at http://ucr.fbi.gov/hate-crime/2016/topic-pages/incidentsandoffenses.

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