By Samantha Kummerer
November 13, 2017
Hate crimes are on the rise in the U.S.
A new FBI report reveals more than 6,000 hate crimes were reported in 2016. That’s about 5 percent more than in 2015.
Most of the crimes were motivated by race, religion or sexual orientation biases. African-Americans, Jews, Muslims and gay men were among the most common victims.
This is the second year in a row that hate crimes have risen. In 2015, incidents rose by 6.8 percent overall with a nearly 70 percent increase in anti-Muslim hate crimes.
And this might not be the whole picture — the FBI’s report is drawn only from the law enforcement agencies that volunteered numbers. A June Bureau of Justice Statistics report suggests more than half of hate crimes between 2011 and 2015 went unreported. And on top of that, different jurisdictions have different definitions and laws on what constitutes a hate crime.
It doesn’t seem like 2017 will be the year to reverse the trend. Membership in hate groups is reportedly increasing, and there have been seen several high-profile incidents this year, including the bombing of a Minnesota mosque, the murders of several transgender people and the stabbings of two men who protested anti-Muslim comments.
Things arguably came to a head with August’s white nationalist protest in Charlottesville, Virginia, which turned violent and left one person dead.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Monday the Department of Justice is taking steps to protect vulnerable Americans, pointing to the department’s assistance in convicting a man for murdering a transgender teenager.