Hate crimes across the US rose to their highest level in more than a decade last year, the agency said Monday.
The US saw 7,314 hate crimes in 2019, up from 7,120 in 2018 — and the highest level in 12 years, according to a new FBI report.
Fifty-one people were killed in hate attacks in 2019 — including the 22 murdered in an El Paso Walmart massacre that authorities say was carried out by a gunman targeting Hispanics.
That is the highest number of hate-motivated murders since the FBI began tracking such statistics in the early 1990s.
The FBI’s annual report defines hate crimes as those motivated by bias based on a person’s race, religion or sexual orientation, among other categories.
Religious groups have been increasingly targeted, as officials saw a nearly 14 percent increase in attacks against Jews and Jewish institutions, the report found.
That surge in violence was felt acutely in New York City, with Mayor Bill de Blasio ordering the NYPD to beef up patrols amid a rash of attacks last year.
The FBI said the number of hate crimes against African Americans dropped slightly to 1,930 from 1,943, however crimes against Hispanics rose to 527 in 2019 from 485 in 2018. 17 percent of all hate crimes were motivated by sexual orientation — a number that remained relatively stable.
Last year, fewer than than 15 percent of about 15,000 participating agencies reported hate crime data to the FBI, and the number of agencies participating in the bureau’s program decreased.
The Justice Department has long been frustrated by many law enforcement organization’s failure to report hate crimes. A 2016 investigation by the Associated Press found that more than 2,700 departments across the country failed to submit any hate crime reports to the FBI in the previous six years.
“The total severity of the impact and damage caused by hate crimes cannot be fully measured without complete participation in the FBI’s data collection process,” Anti-Defamation League president Jonathan Greenblatt said in a statement.
The Anti-Defamation League is among the advocacy groups calling on Congress and police officials nationwide to improve hate crime reporting and data collecting.
With Post wires
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