New FBI report shows increase in hate crimes

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The FBI has reported an increase in hate crimes in the U.S. for a second consecutive year, with Hindus and Sikhs among those targeted in the more than 6,000 incidents of crimes motivated by biases towards religions, race, ethnicity and sexual orientation.

Many civil rights groups reported a spike in hate crimes immediately after President Donald Trump's election in 2016 and the increase in the FBI's official numbers is similar to some of those estimates but lower than the most extreme claims.

That figure comes to about 18.2 hate crimes per million Americans, meaning that the rate of hate crimes increased by about 3.8 percent between 2015 and 2016.

In bias incidents based on gender or sexuality, the majority of victims were gay men-62.7 percent of the 1,255 victims of sexual-orientation bias.

Hate crime victims, explained the Federal Bureau of Investigation, can be individuals, businesses, government entities, religious organisations, or society as whole, and they can be committed against persons, property, or society.

Of the 124 incidents based on gender identity, 19 targeted gender non-conforming people, a decrease of 54 percent from 2015. The next closest category was crimes based on religion, with 21 percent, followed by sexual orientation at 17.5 percent.

"In reality, a hate crime must first involve an underlying criminal act which can be prosecuted", Curry said. "Hate crimes demand priority due to their special impact".

The new report showed a slight uptick in anti-Islamic and anti-Jewish hate crimes, which together made up 79 percent of reported hate crimes in which religion was the primary factor. That's down from 43 in 2015 and 51 in 2014. That is a 4.6 increase from the year before, though 257 more law enforcement agencies contributed to the report in 2016 than in 2015. The plurality of the remainder, 44.7 percent of overall incidents, were for intimidation. The letter cited examples of hate incidents, including the murder of seven transgender women of color, the February shooting targeting two Indian Hindu Americans in Kansas, and the numerous bomb threats against Jewish organizations and houses of worship, among others.

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