Hate crimes in the United States rose 17 percent in 2017, the third consecutive year that such crimes increased, the FBI reported today.
There were 7,175 incidents reported, 7,106 involving a single bias and 69 involving multiple biases. Of the single-bias incidents, 58.1 percent targeted victims because of their race or ethnicity, while 22 percent were based on a victim’s religion. Crimes based on sexual orientation accounted for 15.9 percent of the total, and crimes based on gender identity for 1.7 percent. Crimes based on disability, 1.6 percent, and gender, 0.6 percent, rounded out the total.
“The sharp increase in hate crimes in 2017 came even as overall violent crime in America fell slightly, by 0.2 percent, after increases in 2015 and 2016,” The Washington Post notes.
The FBI report is based on data provided by police departments throughout the nation. The increase is due partly to an increase in the number of departments reporting, “but overall there is still a large number of departments that report no hate crimes to the federal database,” according to the Post.
Anti-Semitic hate crimes rose at a much greater rate than the total, up 37 percent from 2016 to 2017. Crimes based on sexual orientation rose slightly, from 1,076 to 1,130, and gender identity-based crimes declined a bit, from 124 to 119. But again, these numbers reflect only the crimes reported to the FBI by law enforcement agencies.
The FBI next year will provide additional training to local agencies on how to report hate crimes, the bureau notes in a press release.
The incidents reported in 2017 include crimes against individuals, such as assault or intimidation, and against property, such as robbery or arson. Some of the incidents involved more than one type of offense.
Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker said the 2017 figures are “a call to action — and we will heed that call,” the Post reports. “The Department of Justice’s top priority is to reduce violent crime in America, and hate crimes are violent crimes. They are also despicable violations of our core values as Americans.” He was “particularly troubled by the increase in anti-Semitic hate crimes,” he said. Those have been the most common type of hate crimes based on religion for some time. The report comes shortly after the worst anti-Semitic hate crime in U.S. history, the shooting that left 11 people dead at a Pittsburgh synagogue.
Jonathan A. Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, told the Post the report “provides further evidence that more must be done to address the divisive climate of hate in America. That begins with leaders from all walks of life and from all sectors of society forcefully condemning anti-Semitism, bigotry, and hate whenever it occurs.”