Crimes targeting Jews increased by 37% in 2017; anti-Muslim crimes fell by 11%
By Joseph De Avila
Wall Street Journal (13.11.2018) – https://on.wsj.com/2Pt6SZl – Hate crimes rose 17% in 2017, the FBI said Tuesday, a jump that was partly driven by a spike in anti-Semitic incidents.
The number of hate-crime incidents targeting Jews increased 37%, to 938 in 2017. Anti-Muslim crimes fell by 11% in 2017, to 273. Race or ethnic-based hate crimes jumped by 18% in 2017 to 4,131. Hate crimes targeting black people increased by 16% and were the most for any category of race, ethnic group, religion or sexual orientation.
Overall, the Federal Bureau of Investigation recorded 7,175 hate crimes in 2017, compared with 6,121 for the year before. The rise in total hate crimes is the biggest since 2001, when incidents rose to 9,730, a 21% increase.
“We are definitely at an inflection point,” said Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino. “We have now risen to the highest level in about a decade. That is a cause for concern.”
Mr. Levin said a myriad of factors likely played a role in last year’s increase in hate crimes, including socio-political polarization, a rise in white nationalist activity and the explosion of online hate speech on sites like 4chan and the social-media site Gab.
The report comes about two weeks after a man shot and killed 11 Jewish people inside a Pittsburgh synagogue. That suspect, who law-enforcement officials said made anti-Semitic remarks when he was apprehended and targeted Jews on social media, is being tried for hate crimes.
The FBI defines hate crimes as a “criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender or gender identity.”
The Anti-Defamation League said in a news release that efforts need to be redoubled to address the rise of hate crimes.
“This report provides further evidence that more must be done to address the divisive climate of hate in America,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO at ADL. “That begins with leaders from all walks of life and from all sectors of society forcefully condemning anti-Semitism, bigotry and hate whenever it occurs.”
The statistics are based on reporting from local and state law-enforcement officials to the FBI. The number of law-enforcement agencies that submitted incident reports in 2017 climbed by 6% to 16,149.
The ADL said significant gaps in reporting remain. At least 91 cities with populations exceeding 100,000 either didn’t report any data to the FBI or actually reported zero hate crimes.
“It is incumbent on police departments, mayors, governors, and county officials across the country to tally hate crimes data and report it to the FBI,” Mr. Greenblatt said. “The FBI can only report what the data they receive.”
Hate crimes targeting victims because of their sexual orientation rose by 5% in 2017, to 1,130.
Of 6,370 offenders where the offender’s race was identified, 51% of those people were white and 21% were black. The race was unknown for 19% of those offenders.
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