Hate crimes increased in the U.S. by 17 percent in 2017, President Donald Trump’s first year in office, according to the FBI. It was the third consecutive year that crimes of that nature increased. According to FBI data, there were 7,175 incidents of hate crimes in 2017; there were 6,121 in 2016, per The Washington Post.
More police departments reported hate crime data to the FBI, but a lot of departments did not report hate crimes to the database. Despite the rise in hate crimes, violent crime in America fell by 0.2 percent last year after increases in 2015 and 2016.
Acting Attorney General Matthew G. Whitaker, who was appointed by Trump after he fired Jeff Sessions last week, commented on the newly released data, saying it was “a call to action—and we will heed that call. The Department of Justice’s top priority is to reduce violent crime in America, and hate crimes are violent crimes. They are also despicable violations of our core values as Americans.”
People of color or of different ethnicities made up over half of the victims, according to the data, while approximately 20 percent were targeted because of their religion.
In over the 7,000 incidents, 2,013 targeted Black people and 938 Jewish Americans were targeted last year.
Anti-Semitic hate crimes rose 37 percent in 2017. The data was released a few weeks after a suspected gunman shot and killed 11 people at a Pittsburgh synagogue, marking the deadliest attack on the American Jewish community in the country’s history. Police said Robert Bowers entered the synagogue on Oct. 27 and opened fire while proclaiming “all Jews must die.” According to the Post, anti-Semitic attacks are the most common type of religious hate crime in the country. Whitaker said he is “particularly troubled by the increase in anti-Semitic hate crimes.”
San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon placed blame on Trump’s rhetoric for the noticeable rise.
“America’s elected President has mocked the disabled, called Mexicans rapists and murderers, executed a Muslim travel ban, issued disparaging remarks about women and African Americans, and is working to roll back protections for members of our Transgender community,” Gascon said in a statement to SFGate. “The country’s increase in hate crimes should be a surprise to no one, but it should be alarming to all.”
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Teddy is a multimedia journalist who serves as the culture and political writer for EBONY. His work has appeared in NBC's Owned and Operated stations, as well as DNAInfo, which covered local neighborhood news in New York City. He received his Masters in Journalism from the Craig Newmark School of Journalism at CUNY in 2017.