Hate crime incidents in the United States increased during 2019, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with the year seeing a record number of bias-motivated homicides.
The FBI released its annual hate crimes report on Monday, drawing from data submitted by 15,588 law enforcement agencies on criminal acts motivated by bias toward race, ethnicity, ancestry, religion, sexual orientation, disability, gender and gender identity.
In all, there were 7,103 single-bias incidents involving 8,552 victims, with 57.6% of victims targeted due to the offenders’ racial bias, 20.1% targeted due to the offenders’ religious bias and 19.4% targeted due to the offenders’ sexual-orientation or gender identity bias.
The FBI also found that 24.6% occurred in or near residences/homes, 18.2% occurred on roads or sidewalks, 9.6% occurred at schools, 4.7% took place at parking lots or garages and 4.4% took place in houses of worship.
The Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism at California State University San Bernardino released an analysis of the latest data, comparing it to past FBI hate crimes statistics.
The report states that the hate crime totals for 2019 hit their highest level in over a decade with an overall increase of 3%.
According to the center, the total number of hate crime homicides was 51, which is more than double the number reported in 2018 and the highest since 1992, the year the FBI began to report on the data.
The second-highest was 2018 with 24 bias-motivated homicides, followed by 1993 and 1995, which both had a reported 20 bias-motivated homicides.
“The 2019 increases in hate crime were far more precipitous among the most violent offenses — homicides and assaults; those directed toward certain target groups, like Jews and Latinos; and in some of the nation’s largest cities,” stated the center in its report.
“These 2019 overall hate crime totals represent an increase of 194 incidents or 2.72% over the prior year and the most since 2008, when there were 7,783.”
The report noted that one of the incidents included in the statistics for 2019 was the El Paso massacre, where 23 were killed and 23 others were injured due to a mass shooter’s hatred of Latinos.
“The total was double 2018’s most lethal event, the Tree of Life synagogue attack that October with eleven homicides,” added the center.
Michael Jensen, a hate crimes researcher at the University of Maryland, told National Public Radio that hate crimes usually cluster around "big political moments," like election years.
"We saw a big spike when Obama was elected, we saw a big spike when Trump was elected. And we've seen several other big spikes in the years since Trump was elected, around some of the things that he's said and other events," explained Jensen.
"Unfortunately, if you're a betting person, you're going to bet that we're going to see another spike here in the next six weeks or so."