FBI: Hate crimes in U.S. rose 5 percent in 2016

The FBI report was compiled from 15,254 U.S. law enforcement agencies. Of those, 1,776 reported one or more incidents. File Photo by Mark Van Scyoc/Shutterstock/UPI

Nov. 13 (UPI) — Hate crimes rose nearly 5 percent last year, according to data released Monday by the FBI.

The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program’s report said 6,121 criminal incidents in 2016 were motivated by bias toward race, ethnicity, ancestry, religion, sexual orientation, disability, gender or gender identity. In 2015, there were 5,850 hate crimes.

The information was compiled from 15,254 law enforcement agencies. Of those agencies, 1,776 reported one or more incidents.

“It’s deeply disturbing to see hate crimes increase for the second year in a row,” Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan A. Greenblatt said in a release. “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.”

Broken down by category, the FBI reported the following motivations: 57 percent by a race, ethnicity or ancestry bias; 21 percent by a religious bias; 17 percent by a sexual orientation bias; 2 percent by gender identity; 1 percent by disability; and 0.5 percent by gender bias.

Among the 4,229 race-related incidents, 50 percent were anti-black and 21 percent were anti-white. More than 1,500 were motivated by religious bias.

Of the 1,200 hate crimes based on sexual orientation, 63 percent were classified as anti-gay (male) bias; 22 percent were prompted by a combination of anti-lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender bias; 12 percent were anti-lesbian; 2 percent were anti-bisexual and 2 percent were anti-heterosexual.

Most of the crimes were committed in or near a residence and many occurred near a roadway. The remaining locations were schools and houses of worship, commercial and government buildings, restaurants and nightclubs, parking lots and garages, playgrounds and parks, and medical facilities.

“The FBI, through its UCR Program, will continue to collect and disseminate information on hate crime-as a means to educate and increase awareness of these types of crimes for the public as well as for law enforcement, government, community leaders, civic organizations, and researchers around the country,” the FBI said.

Civil-rights groups say hate crimes are under-reported.

“There’s a dangerous disconnect between the rising problem of hate crimes and the lack of credible data being reported,” 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.”

He said in 2015 more than 90 cities with populations of more than 100,000 reported no hate crimes or didn’t report date.

Sim Singh, the Sikh Coalition’s National Advocacy Manager, said the anti-Sikh hate crimes reported in 2016 “represents the tip of the iceberg.”

“If law-enforcement agencies fail to document the true extent of hate crimes against our communities, our nation will have a hard time mobilizing the political will and resources necessary to prevent and combat the problem,” Singh said in a statement.

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