The FBI's annual Hate Crimes Statistics report has found the second consecutive increase in such crimes since 2014.
The report -- which is based on 2016 data voluntarily submitted by about 15,000 law agencies -- shows a 5 percent increase in hate crimes from 2015 and a 10 percent increase from 2014, Reuters reports. Most of the hate crimes were based on race and religion.
Of the 6,121 reported incidents, 3,489 were found to be racially motivated. Black people were the targets of hate crimes in half of all racial cases, while white people were the targets about 20 percent of the time.
There were 1,273 crimes based on religion. The Washington Post reports that 55 percent of the targets for religious crimes were of the Jewish faith.
Crimes against Muslims accounted for about 25 percent of religion-based hate crimes. Reuters reports that the number increased 19 percent from 2015 and was double the amount of 2014.
Hate crimes against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals also went up from previous years. Almost two-thirds of the 1,067 incidents targeted gay men.
The study found that 46 percent of the perpetrators of hate crimes were white, 25 percent were black, and the remainder of the perpetrators were of other races or unknown races.
According to The Washington Post, the statistics are not completely representative of all hate crimes that have occurred in the U.S. in a given year. The FBI stated that 88 percent of jurisdictions willingly participating in the program reported that no hate crimes occurred in their jurisdictions that year.
"No person should have to fear being violently attacked because of who they are, what they believe, of how they worship," said Attorney General Jeff Sessions in a statement after the report was published on Nov. 13, The Washington Post reports.
"It’s deeply disturbing to see hate crimes increase for the second year in a row," said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, chief executive of the Anti-Defamation League. "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."
Former FBI director James Comey spoke about the bureau's tracking of hate crimes before his dismissal in 2017. Following a series of attacks on Jewish-affiliated institutions, Comey said that the FBI needed "to do a better job of tracking and reporting hate crime, to fully understand what is happening in our communities, and how to stop it."