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.