The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) released its annual hate crimes report for 2018 early this morning. The report documented 7,120 hate incidents in 2018, down slightly from 7,175 in 2017. Despite the minor decrease, hate violence was more deadly and violent than it has been since the surge of violence against communities after the September 11th attacks in 2001.
Major findings of the report:
· 2018 was the deadliest and most violent year for hate since 2001. There were 24 hate crime related deaths and 3,099 violent crime offenses in 2018.
· Hate crimes towards Sikhs in the U.S. TRIPLED from 20 incidents in 2017 to 60 incidents in 2018.
· There were 82 Anti-Arab hate crimes recorded in 2018 – the second-highest total since the FBI added an anti-Arab category in 2015.
· There were 188 anti-Muslim hate crimes recorded, down slightly from last year but the fifth-highest total on record.
· There were 14 anti-Hindu hate crimes recorded in 2018 – down from 15 in 2017.
· Of the known offenders, over 50% identified as white
Data collection and underreporting of hate violence remains a significant problem. The Federal Bureau of Justice Statistics reports an average of 250,000 hate crimes every year in the U.S. That’s 35 times more than what the FBI documented in 2018. Only 13% of the over 16,000 participating law enforcement agencies reported any hate crimes in their jurisdictions. Disturbingly, the murders of Khalid Jabara, Srinivas Kuchibhotla, and Heather Heyer in 2016 and 2017, like so many other hate crimes, have not been included in official FBI statistics. The vast majority of crimes are going unreported.
And as we saw in 2017, white supremacy continues to be a primary motivation behind hate violence in the US. In both 2017 and 2018, over 50% of known offenders of reported hate crimes identified as white.
Of the over 500 incidents of hate violence targeting South Asians, Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus, Middle Eastern, and Arab Americans that SAALT has documented since November 2016, at least 80% have been motivated by anti-Muslim sentiment. In SAALT’s 2018 report “Communities on Fire,” one in every five perpetrators of hate violence referenced President Trump, a Trump administration policy, or Trump campaign slogan.
White supremacist violence, fanned by the flames of racist rhetoric and policies at the federal level like the Muslim Ban and family separation, continues to devastate Black and brown communities. Anti-Black hate crimes accounted for more than 25% of violent hate crimes reported in 2018 and the majority of incidents motivated by race.
The current Administration continues to promote rather than address the root causes of this violence.
Comprehensive data collection is a critical component of documenting the problem, but acknowledging and actively combating white supremacy is the most important step to ensuring this violence doesn’t continue to wreak havoc on people’s lives.