A new report released this week by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) shows a 17 percent increase in reported hate crimes from the previous year in the United States. These statistics highlight the ongoing epidemic of hate violence against marginalized communities, especially those who identify as LGBTQ.


In 2017, 7,175 hate crime incidents were reported. Of those, 1,130 were based on sexual orientation bias and 119 on gender identity bias. These numbers reflect a five percent increase in reporting of hate crimes motivated by sexual orientation bias, and a four percent decrease in reporting of hate crimes motivated by gender identity bias.


“These numbers are disappointing, but not surprising," said Vanita Gupta, president & CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. "The Trump administration’s divisive rhetoric and discriminatory policies fuel the flames of bigotry and acts of hatred throughout our country."


"The FBI’s hate crimes report is merely the thermometer – telling us that the temperature of hate and intolerance in America is spiking to sweltering levels," Gupta continued. "Sadly, we can trace the source of this heat directly back to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Hate has no place anywhere in our country. Most alarming, this report captures only a fraction of the problem. The federal government must improve their hate crime data collection to accurately represent this country’s epidemic of hate."


The report also shows an increase of bias-motivated crimes based on race, religion, disability and gender. The FBI reported that anti-black hate crimes increased by 16 percent, from 1,739 incidents in 2016 to 2,013 incidents in 2017. Hate crimes targeting Black people represented 28 percent of all reported hate crimes in 2017. Every other racial and ethnic group also saw increases in the number of reported hate crimes in 2017.


Further, hate crimes motivated by anti-religious bias increased 23 percent, largely driven by a 37 percent increase in anti-Jewish hate crimes, which constituted the majority of religion motivated hate crimes. Hate crimes motivated by bias against people with disabilities increased by a disturbing 66 percent and hate crimes motivated by gender bias increased by 48 percent.


The civil rights community denounces these acts of hate and bigotry and calls on our elected and appointed officials to meet a higher standard with those who denounce acts of hate and bigotry in this country,” said Gupta.


According to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), reporting hate crimes to the FBI is not mandatory, and the new FBI statistics likely represent only a fraction of bias related violence. While the number of jurisdictions reporting hate crimes data increased to 16,149 in 2017 from 15,251 in 2016, thousands of law enforcement agencies throughout the nation did not submit any data.


"The lack of mandatory reporting means that the FBI data, while helpful, paints an incomplete picture of hate crimes against the LGBTQ and other communities," HRC reports. "In addition, 87 percent of the agencies that participated in the program reported no hate crimes in their jurisdiction, suggesting that agencies still face challenges in identifying and reporting hate crimes."


The full FBI report on hate crimes can be found here.



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