Hate Crimes Rose 5 Percent in 2016, FBI Says

Chet Strange  Getty Images

Chet Strange Getty Images

"It's deeply disturbing to see hate crimes increase for the second year in a row", said Jonathan Greenblatt, national director and CEO of the Anti-Defamation League.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, a non-profit which tracks hate groups, attributed the bump to the 2016 presidential election, in which Donald Trump assailed Muslims and Hispanics as extremists and illegal immigrants.

Six hate crimes were related to religion, while five were associated with sexual orientation. The remaining agencies reported no hate crimes occurred within their jurisdictions.

The latest statistics are based on voluntary reporting from almost 16,000 United States law enforcement agencies.

Of the 6,121 criminal incidents, a majority were driven by race and ethnicity.

There were eight reports of religion motivated hate crimes past year but zero reports of gender motivated hate crimes.

An unrelated report released in February found the number of hate groups in the U.S.

There were also 105 incidents against transgender people, a 44 percent increase compared to 2015.

At the time, Cobb police said the higher number could be attributed to a computer system that lets officers designate an incident as a hate crime. There is more of a focused effort on reporting these crimes in today's political climate.

"The Department of Justice is committed to ensuring that individuals can live without fear of being a victim of violent crime based on who they are, what they believe, or how they worship", Sessions said in a statement. Incidents targeting Muslims rose 19 percent from 257 to 307 incidents.

Of the 7,615 overall victims, 4,720 were victims of crimes against persons (both adults and juveniles), 2,813 were victims of crimes against property, and 82 were victims of hate crimes categorized as crimes against society (e.g., weapons violations, drug offenses, gambling). Crimes motivated by gender identity-bias accounted for 124 incidents.

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