The number of hate incidents rose for the second consecutive year, and these are 10 US cities where hate crimes are increasing the most.
Examples of hate crimes range from vandalism such as racists graffiti to aggravated assaults like the brutal beating of an African American man in Auburn earlier this year. Federal Bureau hate crime statistics show that the number of bias incidents jumped by 5%. In 2015, there were 5,850 crimes motivated by offender’s prejudice against victim’s religion, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, while the year later that number was 6,121. Of these, the majority were racially motivated, and among them hate crimes against blacks. At the same time, incidents triggered by hatred of a religion recorded significant increase. FBI statistics show that there was 20% jump in hate crimes against Muslims, which is consistent with findings of Pew Research Center about a rise in anti-Muslim discrimination. Some non-governmental organizations believe that the increase in hate crimes, especially against Muslim and Latino population, was influenced by presidential camping and election of Donald Tramp for the president.
The latest FBI data might seem bleak, but they do not paint the whole picture as a majority of hate crimes go unreported. According to Bureau of Justice, U.S. residents experienced “an average of 250,000 hate crime victimizations each year from 2004 to 2015,” and it can be rightly assumed that this figure was not significantly reduced in 2016 and 2017. Another problem with FBI statistics is that law enforcement agency voluntary report hate crime statistics. In 2016, 88% of all agencies reported there was no hate crime in their jurisdiction, which is not an accurate representation of reality. Moreover, hate crime definition stipulates that hate crime is an offense motivated by offender’s bias and sometimes police officers fail to recognize such bias. It is not uncommon that anti-Muslim graffiti or painted swastika are classified as vandalism. There are also many examples of serious violent offenses which were not seen as hate crimes although bias component played an obvious role.
Given all previously mentioned FBI data on hate crimes have many shortcomings. However, they still represent the most comprehensive statistics available, and that is the reason why we used it in creating the list of US cities where hate crimes are increasing. We relied on FBI reports for 2015 and 2016, which was also the source for our previous article about most racist states in America ranked by hate crimes in 2017. Those are the places with a high number of racist crimes in America. We decided to include areas which have recorded the greatest increase in number terms. We were not interested in percentage rise as this can be misleading. For instance, in some cities, the number of hate crimes rose from one to four which is 300% increase. If we included such areas in our ranking, we would have to omit cities like Seattle which experienced hate crime rise below 100% but which have serious problems with hate incidents. In cases when two or more cities experienced the same number increase, the order in which they appear is based on the number of hate crimes in 2016.
10. Chicago, IL
We start today’s list with Chicago where the number of hate crimes increased by 13. According to FBI, there were 51 hate incidents in 2016. Other sources report that there were 72 hate incidents in 2016, which is 20% rise compared to 60 in 2015. The same sources claim that during first nine months of last year, 50 hate incidents occurred in Chicago. Of these, majority targeted Jewish people or institutions.
9. Columbus, OH
Hate crimes in Columbus increased from 137 in 2015 to 151 in 2016. Racially motivated incidents followed by crimes triggered by victim’s sexual orientation constituted the greatest share of all hate offenses. The rise in the number of hate crimes in Columbus is not surprising given the fact that Ohio ranked as sixth in hate crimes in 2016. The positive thing though is that Columbus is one of a few cities with a population over 250,000 that posted a decline in hate crimes during first nine months of 2017.
6. Bellevue, WA
Bellevue ranks 6th on our list of US cities where hate crimes are increasing. It is one of the smallest cities on our list with the population of 141,000. In 2015, there were only two hate crimes in the area. Next year the number of hate offenses rose to 18. Of these, 13 were religiously motivated, mainly against Muslim community. At the beginning of 2017, another crime which appeared to be religiously motivated happened in Bellevue when the homeless man set fire to a city’s mosque. However, police officials claimed that the arsonist did not commit the crime because “people who worshiped there were Muslim,” but because of “personal vendetta.”
6. Toledo, OH
Toledo is another city located in Ohio which saw a significant rise in the number of hate crimes. According to FBI, in 2015 there were 19 hate incidents, while in 2016, 35 hate offenses occurred in Toledo. Of these, almost all were racially motivated. Another sources also report hate crime increase in last few years – from June 2013 through May 2015 there were 34 incidents. The number reached 76 from June 2015 through May 2017. Of these, 52 targeted blacks and 19 targeted whites.
6. Lexington, KY
In 2015, 25 hate crimes occurred in Lexington, which ranks as sixth on our list of 10 US cities where hate crimes are increasing, while in 2016 the figure rose to 41. Of these racially motivated offenses followed by religiously based incidents were the most prevalent. It is possible that the number of hate crimes will continue to increase in the future since Kentucky passed the bill under which violence against police officers is seen as a hate crime. The similar bill, popularly called “Blue lives matters,” was previously adopted in Louisiana.
And now, let’s see the top five US cities where hate crimes are increasing.
5. San Leandro, CA
We are continuing our list of US cities where hate crimes are increasing with San Leandro, with the city of around 90,000 residents, which saw more than 600% increase in the number of hate crimes. In 2015 there were only 3 hate offenses while the year later the number was 22. While trying to explain the rise, police officials from San Leandro noted that in 2016 officers classified “incidents as hate crimes in cases that may not initially have been motivated by bigotry, but which involved a racial slur, misogynist comment, or homophobic remark.” Of 22 hate crimes reported in 2016, 15 were racially motivated.
4. Detroit, MI
Michigan had fourth highest number of hate crimes in America in 2016, and the greatest number of hate incidents occurred in Detroit. The city saw an extremely high percentage increase in hate crimes as the number of hate offenses rose from 8 in 2015, to 32 in 2016, which is 300% rise. Besides racially motivated crimes, offenses targeting sexual minorities accounted for the greatest share of all hate crimes in Detroit.
2. Seattle, WA
In 2015 there were 83 hate crimes in Seattle and the next year the figure was 118. This rise was mainly influenced by the increase in the number of incidents based on victim’s race and sexual orientation. Hate crime statistic for 2017 is not available yet. However, given the fact that only during first six months of last year 178 bias incidents were reported it is evident that hate crime in Seattle continued to increase for the second consecutive year.
2. Los Angeles, CA
Like in previously mentioned Seattle, in Los Angeles, the number of hate crimes also rose by 35. The City of Angles occupies a higher place on the list because it had a greater number of hate crimes in 2016. Of 227, bias offenses in 2016, majority were motivated by victim’s race, sexual orientation, and religion.
1. New York, NY
New York occupies the first place on our list of 10 US cities where hate crimes are increasing as the number of bias incidents rose from 307 in 2015, to 361 in 2016. The statistics for 2017 shows that hate crimes continued to increase last year because of the rise in religiously based offenses. In 2017, more than a half of all hate crimes were against Jews and Muslims.