New FBI data indicates that the rate of hate crimes in the U.S. increased by roughly five percent between 2015 and 2016. The data found that the number of hate crimes against Jews, Muslims and LGBTQ Americans had increased compared to previous years.
On Nov. 13, the FBI released its annual summary of hate crimes tallied from across the nation. The report found that there were more than 6,100 reported hate crimes in 2016, a noticeable uptick from the 5,800 reported in 2015. Ethnic or racial bias spurred 3,489 reported hate crimes in 2016, according to The Washington Post.
Breaking down the data, half of the victims of racially-motivated hate crimes were black. Fifty-five percent of religiously-motivated hate crimes were directed at Jews, while 25 percent targeted Muslims. One in six hate crimes involved biases against sexual orientation.
Roughly 40 percent of hate crimes were simple assault, while nearly 25 percent were aggravated assault. More than 1,600 hate crime offenders destroyed or vandalized property.
Chief executive of the Anti-Defamation League Jonathan A. Greenblatt warned that the FBI data signaled hate crimes were on an upward trend.
"It's deeply disturbing to see hate crimes increase for the second year in a row," Greenblatt said on Nov. 13. "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."
On Feb. 16, an annual census compiled by the Southern Poverty Law Center found the number of hate groups had also increased between 2015 and 2016. The census found the prevalence of extremist organizations had grown from 892 in 2015 to 917 in 2016, NBC News reports.
The census found that the number of groups affiliated with the Ku Klux Klan had dropped by a significant margin, but had been replaced with other white nationalist organizations. The number of hate groups that targeted Muslims surged from 34 to 101.
FBI officials have previously asserted that they do not believe their annual reports fully reflect the number of hate crimes because law enforcement groups do not thoroughly disclose the rate of incidents in their jurisdictions. In the latest report, 88 percent of law enforcement agencies said they had no hate crimes recorded.
On May 8, former FBI director James Comey called for a more comprehensive accounting of hate crimes.
"We must do a better job of tracking and reporting hate crime to fully understand what’s happening in our communities and in our country so we can stop it," Comey said during a speech before the ADL Conference, according to C-SPAN.
"Some jurisdictions do not report hate crime data," Comey continued. "Some say there were no hate crimes in their jurisdiction, which would be awesome if it were true. We must continue to impress upon our state and local counterparts how important it is that we track and report hate crime data. It’s not something we can ignore, even though it's painful; it's not something we can sweep under the rug, even though it’s painful."