Hate crimes reported surged near the time of the 2016 presidential election that took place in November.
According to the latest Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) crime statistics from 2016, hate crimes in the United States are on the rise.
Data suggests that hate crimes reported against Muslims and white people are on an upward trend. And, in general, reported hate crime has increased.
Of the 6,121 hate crimes reported to the FBI in 2016, 307 of them were stemming from anti-Islamic hate crimes. This marks a 19% increase from the previous year. Jews were the largest target of hate crimes - more hate crimes were committed against Jews than every other religious group combined.
The second largest increase in hate crime - targeting white people - rose by 17% and amounted to a total of 720 reported incidents. However, anti-black hate crime is overwhelmingly the largest category of racially motivated hate crime, constituting nearly half of the 3,489 racially motivated crimes.
Taken as a whole, hate crimes rose 4% in 2016 from their 2015 figures.
The last quarter of the year usually sees a reduction in hate crimes, however, hate crimes surged near the time of the 2016 presidential election that took place in November.
Commentators have pointed to U.S. President Donald Trump’s incendiary racial and religious comments as a catalyst for the uptick in hate crimes. Trump announced his campaign by calling Mexicans “rapists” and “murderers” and proposed a Muslim ban during his campaign which he unsuccessfully tried to implement in his first months in office.
Right-wing extremism, which has been dismissed by Trump, accounts for over 300 annual violent attacks.
However, crime statistics are not without their flaws. Not all crimes are qualitatively assessed, meaning that the motivations for crimes are often not considered or reported. Crimes are also common unreported by victims or police for a variety of different reasons. And it is important to note that not all police departments report their crime incidents to the FBI every year.
While there may be flaws in the FBI’s latest report, it should be taken as a general barometer for the general direction of hate crimes in the United States and not a reference for concrete figures.