U.S. hate crimes rose during fierce 2016 election, Federal Bureau of Investigation stats show

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Excluding a handful of "multiple bias" incidents, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said 57.5 percent of all incidents past year were based on hate related to race, ethnicity or ancestry.

The FBI's report was consistent with a report released earlier this year by a civil rights group that found an apparent increase in the number of anti-Muslim hate groups this past year.

Religion-motivated crimes accounted for 21.0 percent of incidents, and crimes motivated by sexual orientation accounted for 17 percent of incidents. In 2016, law enforcement reported a total of 7,615 victims of hate crimes. In 2014, officials reported 22 hate crimes. Crimes fueled by bias against LGBT people rose from 203 in 2015 to 234 past year. The FBI's report shows a four-and-a-half percent increase nationally in hate crimes.

Experts caution there is a big caveat with Federal Bureau of Investigation data: It's based on voluntary reporting from more than 15,000 police agencies across the country.




In short, hate crimes can and do happen just about anywhere.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the task force he appointed on crime reduction is exploring ways to revise training for police and prosecutors, and to improve data collection on hate crimes.

These statistics suggest that the most vulnerable target for racial hate crimes in 2016 were not racial minority groups, but white Americans.

"No person should have to fear being violently attacked because of who they are, what they believe or how they worship", he said. In 2015, this number was 734, indicating a 19.34 percent increase. Anti-Black hate crimes actually declined by three offenses. But incidents motivated by anti-Muslim bias saw the greatest increase out of religion-motivated crimes. Crimes motivated by gender identity-bias accounted for 124 incidents.

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