Report: Hate-Crime Violence Reached 16-Year High Last Year

Darren.Woon

Violent hate crimes reached a 16-year high in 2018, marking a shift from vandalism to more personal attacks.

Violent hate crimes reached a 16-year high in 2018, the F.B.I. announced on Tuesday, and while there was a drop in assaults targeting Muslims and Arab-Americans, there was a significant rise in violence against Latinos, according to The New York TImes

The F.B.I. defines a hate crime as a “criminal offense against a person or property, motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity.”

Law enforcement officials at the state and local level are not required to report hate crimes to the F.B.I., and while crimes against property were down, physical assaults against people were up and accounted for 61 percent of the 7,120 incidents that were reported. 

Of the 4,571 reported hate crimes collected by the bureau, aggravated assaults were up 4 percent, simple assaults were up 15 percent, and intimidation was up 13 percent. 

Brian Levin, the director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino, said in an independent analysis of the F.B.I.’s figures that the data suggests a change from young people committing vandalism toward more deliberate, and more personal, attacks on people.

“We’re seeing a shift from the more casual offender with more shallow prejudices to a bit more of an older assailant who acts alone,” Levin said. “There’s a diversifying base of groups that are being targeted. We’re getting back to more violence.”

Hate crimes against Latinois were at their highest level since 2010, with 485 hate crimes reported, and some advocates are placing the blame on Trump’s rhetoric. 

“There’s a direct correlation between the hate speech and fear-mongering coming from President Trump and the right wing of the Republican Party with the increase in attacks against Latinos,” said Domingo Garcia, the national president of the League of United Latin American Citizens. 

While the majority at large, 87 percent of the 16,039 law enforcement agencies, said no hate crimes were reported in their jurisdiction during 2018, James Nolan, a former F.B.I. crime analyst suggested that the lack of data does not invalidate attempts to determine which types of hate crimes are on the rise. 

“All crimes are underreported; it doesn’t make them useless that they’re underreported;,” he said. “You have to be savvy enough to look at the trend lines and see the trends. It tells you something about what’s going on.”

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