Hate crimes in US rise to highest level in more than a decade: FBI
Hate crimes in the United States rose to their highest level in more than a decade last year, while more murders motivated by hate were recorded than ever before, the FBI said on Monday.
There were 51 hate crime murders in 2019, which includes 22 people who were killed in a shooting that targeted Mexicans in August 2019 in the border city of El Paso, Texas, the report said.
The suspect in that shooting, which left two dozen other people injured, was charged with both state and federal crimes in what authorities said was an attempt to scare Hispanics into leaving the United States.
There were 7,314 hate crimes last year, up from 7,120 the year before — and approaching the 7,783 of 2008.
The FBI’s annual report defines hate crimes as those motivated by bias based on a person’s race and religion, among other categories.
Some of the 2019 increases may be the result of better reporting by police departments, but law enforcement officials and advocacy groups don’t doubt that hate crimes are on the rise.
The data also shows there was a nearly 7% increase in religion-based hate crimes, with 953 reports of crimes targeting Jews and Jewish institutions last year, up from 835 the year before.
The FBI said the number of hate crimes against African Americans dropped slightly to 1,930, from 1,943. Anti-Hispanic hate crimes, however, rose to 527 in 2019, from 485 in 2018.
The upswing in hate crimes last year underscored the upward trend in bias-motivated crimes during the administration of President Donald Trump, whose harsh rhetoric against Latino immigrants has emboldened white supremacist groups.
“The total severity of the impact and damage caused by hate crimes cannot be fully measured without complete participation in the FBI’s data collection process,” the Anti-Defamation League’s president, Jonathan Greenblatt, said in a statement.
“The FBI’s report is another reminder that we have much work to do to address hate in America,” said Margaret Huang, the president of the Southern Poverty Law Center.