Hate crimes in the US increased by 6.8% in 2015, according to data released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation on Monday (Nov. 14). Much of that increase can be attributed to a surge in attacks against Muslims, which rose 67% from the previous year.
The data are the most exhaustive available in measuring hate crimes reported across the country. They build on reporting by other monitors about an alarming rise in reported hate crimes during the latest presidential election cycle. On Nov. 12, president-elect Donald Trump addressed the rash of racist attacks that followed Election Day in an interview on 60 Minutes. “I am so saddened to hear that, and I say stop it. And if it helps, I’ll say it right to the cameras: Stop it.”
The FBI numbers are based on information collected from 1,742 local and state police departments around the country. Nearly 15,000 law enforcement agencies participate in the FBI’s Hate Crimes Statistics Program. The FBI classifies hate crimes as traditional offenses like murder, arson or vandalism motivated by bias against race, ethnicity, ancestry, religion, sexual orientation, disability, gender, and gender identity.
There were a total of 5,850 criminal hate incidents in 2015, compared with 5,479 in 2014. There were 257 incidents against Muslims last year, up from 154 in 2014. Anti-Muslim offenses accounted for about 4.4% of all incidents in 2015, up from 2.8% in 2014.
More than half (56.6%) of the hate crimes reported were committed on the basis of race, the FBI reports. Out of 3,310 race-based incidents, 52.7% were anti-black. Religiously-motivated hate crimes accounted for 21.3% of the total incidents.
Incidents against other religious and ethnic groups also increased in 2015. The FBI reported that anti-black crimes were up 7.6%, while anti-Jewish incidents rose by almost 9% in 2015.
The agency said on Monday that it requires increased participation from law enforcement agencies in order to provide a clearer picture. “We need to do a better job of tracking and reporting hate crime to fully understand what is happening in our communities and how to stop it,” FBI director James Comey said in a statement.