Hate Crimes Rose 5 Percent in 2016, FBI Says

By Steve Neavling

The numbers show a 15.2 increase from 2015's hate crimes, when 18.2 percent of racial hate crimes (789 total) were done over "anti-white bias", the 2015 Federal Bureau of Investigation report said.

Religious bias motivated 1,538 hate crimes previous year - over half against Jews, and about one-quarter against Muslims. The two largest percentages of hate crime incidents took place in or near residences (27.3 percent) and on or near some type of roadway (18.4 percent).

Anti-Jewish bias was the motivation cited in a little more than half of the 1,273 religion-related hate crimes.

The FBI gathered their information from 15,254 law enforcement agencies.

The FBI's annual hate crime statistics, released Monday, showed there were 6,121 hate crime incidents in 2016, up 4.6 percent from 5,850 in 2015.

It is crucial to note, however, while this is the most comprehensive report of hate crimes, it is still incomplete.

The law center and other watchdog groups have blamed the spike in extremist groups and hate speech to the divisive presidential election a year ago. In 2015 and 2016, that number was driven by crimes against people due to their race or ethnicity. But the number of anti-black crimes remained about even with the number reported in 2015.

There were also 105 incidents against transgender people, a 44 percent increase compared to 2015.

Meanwhile, 21% of crimes were motivated by religion and almost 18% by a victim's sexual orientation.

In California, the numbers also rose along with the rest of the nation: From 837 hate crimes in 2015 to 931 in 2016.

"The Department of Justice is committed to ensuring that individuals can live without fear of being a victim of violent crime based on who they are, what they believe, or how they worship", Sessions said in a statement. Crimes motivated by gender identity-bias accounted for 124 incidents.

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