Law & the Courts

FBI Records Increase in Hate-Crime Reports for Third Year in a Row

The J. Edgar Hoover FBI Building in Washington, D.C. (Jim Bourg/REUTERS)

An annual FBI report released Tuesday shows an increase in hate crimes reported to the agency for the third year in a row.

Last year, law-enforcement agencies across the country reported 7,175 hate crimes to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program, according to the Hate Crime Statistics report — a 17 percent increase from the 6,121 such crimes reported in 2016.

Over half the crimes were motivated by racial bias. Of these, almost 50 percent were against African-Americans, about 17 percent were against whites, and about 10 percent were against Hispanics.

Religion was the second-most-common motive. Reports of anti-Semitic hate crimes spiked 37 percent and made up the majority of the anti-religious crimes. Anti-Islamic offenses were the second-most common, and anti-Catholic offenses the third.

The report is a “call to action,” acting attorney general Matthew Whitaker said, adding that the crimes are “despicable violations of our core values as Americans.”

“I am particularly troubled by the increase in anti-Semitic hate crimes — which were already the most common religious hate crimes in the United States — that is well documented in this report,” Whitaker said.

Although the numbers reflect an increase in crimes motivated by bias, the FBI also received information from about 1,000 more federal, state, and local law-enforcement agencies than in previous years, meaning the increase may not be as big as it appears.

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