FBI: hate crimes surge to record numbers in US

Attacks against the Jewish community, the Arab community and Hispanics increased in 2019

Shooting suspect Patrick Crusius, charged with capital murder for a mass shooting at a Walmart store in El Paso, is seen in this police photo released from El Paso, Texas, U.S., August 5, 2019.  Courtesy of El Paso Police Department/Handout via REUTERS.  THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. THIS IMAGE WAS PROCESSED BY REUTERS TO ENHANCE QUALITY. AN UNPROCESSED VERSION HAS BEEN PROVIDED SEPARATELY.

Hate crimes surged to a new high in the US last year, according to an annual report released on Monday by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

More hate crimes occurred this past year in the US than in any other year since 1992, when the FBI started collecting such data.

Fifty-one people were killed in hate crimes last year, a 112-per cent increase from the year before.

The FBI report said 7,314 hate crimes were committed this past year, 194 more attacks (3 per cent higher) than the year before, a level not seen since 2008, when 7,783 hate crimes were reported.

The 2019 numbers include the El Paso, Texas, shooting that targeted the Hispanic community, in which 22 people were killed.

Almost half of the race-based hate crimes (48.4 per cent) were committed against black people, 14.1 per cent against Hispanics, and 4.3 per cent against Asians, according to the report.

For those attacks committed against religious groups, there was a 12 per cent increase in hate crimes targeting the Jewish community.

The FBI reported 953 hate crimes against Jewish people and institutions, constituting 60.3 per cent of the religious hate crimes category.

Anti-Muslim hate crimes dropped by 6 per cent to 176 last year, but crimes targeting Arab-Americans increased by 16 per cent, or 95 more attacks.

Maya Berry, the executive director of the Arab-American Institute, said she regretted the surge in hate crimes and called for a better response from US authorities.

“Regrettably, even drastically underreported data confirms what we all know: hate [is] increasing and getting more violent in America.

"2019 is the most violent year since the post-September 11 surge and the deadliest year on record. We have so much work to do,” she said.

Hate crimes against whites dropped 12.6 per cent last year, for a total of 666 incidents.