FBI: Reported hate crimes spike in US for third year in a row

The Anti-Defamation League calls for renewed vigilance after new report shows hate crimes jumping 17 percent

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published November 13, 2018 3:33PM (EST)


The number of reported hate crimes in the United States is on the rise for a third straight year.

The FBI reported on Tuesday that the US saw a rise in hate crimes of all kinds throughout the United States in 2017, a third straight year with a surge of such crimes. Overall hate crimes rose by 17 percent, with a 37 percent jump occurring in hate crimes directed against Jewish individuals and institutions, in 2017.

Nearly 60 percent of victims were selected because of their race, ethnicity or ancestry while more than 20 percent were targeted because of their religion. Of the racial bias incidents, more than 48 percent were directed toward individuals who were of African descent, followed by more than 17 percent being victimized by anti-White bias and more than 10 percent being victimized by anti-Hispanic/Latino animus. Of the religious bias incidents, more than 58 percent of the victims were targeted because of an offenders hatred toward Jews, followed by more than 18 percent were victimized because of the offenders' anti-Islamic bias and more than 4 percent were persecuted because of anti-Catholic bias.

Overall there were 5,060 known victims of hate crimes motivated by race, ethnicity or ancestry, 1,749 victims of hate crimes motivated by religious hatred, 1,338 victims targeted due to sexual-orientation bias, 160 victims of disability bias, 132 victims of gender identity bias and 54 victims of gender bias.

The Anti-Defamation League has issued a statement condemning the spike in anti-Semitic crimes, as well as hate crimes in general, that occurred in 2017.

"Two weeks ago, we witnessed the most deadly anti-Semitic hate crime in American history. Today, we have another FBI study showing a big jump in hate crimes against Americans because of their race, religion, ethnicity, and sexual orientation," ADL CEO and National Director Jonathan A. Greenblatt said in a statement. "This report provides further evidence that more must be done to address the divisive climate of hate in America. 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."

He expressed similar thoughts when Salon asked him about the possible connection between the rhetoric of President Donald Trump and his far-right supporters and the hate crime surge.

"To be clear, one person is not responsible for the rise in hate crimes across the board," Greenblatt told Salon by email. "It is incumbent on all leaders and those in positions of authority – no matter their party or ideology, their office or their industry – to condemn anti-Semitism and hate whenever it occurs. Words have consequences. When anti-Semitic rhetoric or dog-whistling is allowed in our public square without condemnation, especially from our leaders, it gives a green light to the anti-Semites to keep spouting it – and acting on it."

He added, "It's time for responsible leaders to step forward and clearly denounce this hate. It does not matter who says it or if it happens during a political campaign, on a college campus or at the water cooler. It is time more people of all faiths and ideologies to speak out clearly and forcefully against anti-Semitism, scapegoating, and bigotry in our society."

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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Adl Anti-defamation League Anti-semitism Donald Trump Fbi