It’s prime time for hate crimes.
New FBI statistics show that there were 6,121 hate crimes across the country last year compared to 5,818 in 2015 — a 5% increase.
Crimes directed at Muslims, Jews and LGBT people all increased.
“No person should have to fear being violently attacked because of who they are, what they believe, or how they worship,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said.
Jews were targeted in more than half of the 1,538 hate crimes revolving around religion. Muslims were the second-most targeted, with around 25% — or 381 hateful episodes — involving their faith.
Of the 1,255 victims of hate crimes due to sexual orientation last year, 63% were the result of anti-gay male bias, statistics show.
The data found that there were 4,229 hate crimes based on race. Half of those crimes were aimed at black people. Less than 1,000 were directed at white people.
Jack Levin, a criminologist at Northeastern University in Boston, said the statistics reflected the “cumulative effect” of an increase in hate crimes directed at Muslims, immigrants, gay people and others since 9/11. President Trump’s 2016 campaign fed into the trend, he said.
“Hate speech that comes from the top becomes hate crimes at the bottom,” said Levin, who co-wrote the book, “Hate Crimes” in 1993.
The yearly report is the most comprehensive available — but the FBI cautioned that it depends on voluntary reporting by police departments across the country.
Levin said the data are notoriously unreliable, given that the number of participating police departments changes year to year.
This year, he noted, Mississippi reported seven hate crimes. Last year, it reported zero.
Hate crimes are up in New York City by 17% this year, according to NYPD statistics.
The most common hate crimes in the five boroughs so far this year — 142 out of 327 — were anti-Semitic.
“It’s deeply disturbing to see hate crimes increase for the second year in a row,” Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said. “Hate crimes demand priority attention because of their special impact. They not only hurt one victim, but they also intimidate and isolate a victim’s whole community and weaken the bonds of our society.”