WASHINGTON — Hate crimes in the United States rose nearly 5 percent in 2016, according to the latest annual report released by the FBI.
Last year, 15,254 law enforcement agencies contributed reporting to the Hate Crime Statistics Program. More than 90 cities with 100,000 or more residents either ignored the FBI’s request for hate crimes data or reported zero incidents.
Of the year’s 6,063 incidents that stemmed from a single bias, 57.5 percent were motivated by bias against the victim’s race or ethnicity, 21 percent acted out of religious bias, 17.7 percent were motivated by bias against the victim’s sexual orientation, 2 percent were motivated by gender-identity bias, 1.2 percent were prompted by disability bias, and 0.5 percent were motivated by gender bias. These included 7,227 offenses, 7,509 victims, and 5,727 known offenders.
There were also 58 documented incidents in which the perpetrator acted out of more than one bias. These involved 94 offenses, 106 victims, and 43 known offenders.
Most of the identified offenders for which race was known were white (2,671), while 1,508 were black and 339 were Latino.
More than half of the year’s 4,229 racial hate crimes were motivated by bias against African-Americans. Just over 20 percent of hate crimes stemmed from bias against whites, and just over 10 percent were classified as anti-Hispanic or Latino bias.
And 54.2 percent of 2016’s 1,538 religious hate crimes were against Jews, while 24.8 percent were anti-Muslim and 4.1 percent were against Catholics, 2.4 percent were against “other Christian,” 1.8 percent were anti-Eastern Orthodox and 1.3 percent were anti-Protestant.
Nearly two-thirds of the sexual-orientation hate crimes were against gay men. Crimes against transgender people were up 44 percent from 2015. “While the number of jurisdictions reporting hate crimes data increased to 15,251 in 2016 from 14,997 in 2015, this is still less than the 15,494 agencies that reported in 2014,” the Human Rights Campaign said in a statement. “The lack of mandatory reporting means that the FBI data, while helpful, paints a very incomplete picture of hate crimes against LGBTQ Americans.”
The vast majority of hate crimes, 81.3 percent, were directed at people, with the remainder directed toward businesses, government entities, religious organizations or society at large. Of total hate crimes, 64.5 percent were crimes against persons while 34.4 percent were crimes against property.
Of the 4,720 hate crime offenses against persons, 44.7 percent were intimidation, 35.7 percent were simple assault, and 18.5 percent were aggravated assault. There were also nine murders and 24 rapes. Three-quarters of crimes against property consisted of damage or vandalism; the balance of property crimes included robbery, burglary, larceny-theft, auto theft and arson. The bulk of hate crimes happened at a residence, followed by roads or sidewalks.
The state with the most reported hate crimes was California, followed by New York, Ohio, Washington state, Michigan and Massachusetts.
“There’s a dangerous disconnect between the rising problem of hate crimes and the lack of credible data being reported,” Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said. “Police departments that do not report credible data to the FBI risk sending the message that this is not a priority issue for them, which may threaten community trust in their ability and readiness to address hate violence.”
“We will need an all-hands-on-deck approach – including community organizations, law enforcement organizations, civic leaders, and the active involvement of Justice Department and FBI officials – to address hate crime underreporting,” he added.
During his July confirmation hearing, FBI Director Christopher Wray told senators that “crimes based on bigotry or prejudice can’t be tolerated — and I think the FBI has an important role in being an aggressive investigator there.”