Hate Crimes Dip Slightly, But Surge Against Latinos, FBI Reports

November 14, 2019by Jaweed Kaleem
The Tree of Life synagogue at the intersection of Shady and Wilkins Avenue, in Pittsburgh's Squirrel Hill neighborhood. (John Altdorfer/Zuma Press/TNS)

Hate crimes targeting people in 2018 surged to their highest levels in 16 years despite a slight overall dip in the number of hate crimes, the FBI said in a report released Tuesday.

The FBI’s tally, which used data submitted by more than 2,000 police departments and law enforcement agencies, logged 7,120 hate crimes. The total is 55 lower than 2017, a decline of less than 1%.

The drop is the first time hate crimes have gone down in four years. But it’s tiny when compared to long-term trends in increased hate crimes. Aside from last year, the total number of hate crimes the FBI reported is higher than every year since 2008.

“The numbers, on the surface, seem to remain relatively flat overall,” said Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at Cal State San Bernardino. “But underneath the data there are some interesting trends happening.”

“There has been a disturbing shift to hate crimes directed against people as opposed to property and these increases are seen almost across the board,” he said.

According to the FBI, crimes against people grew to 4,571 last year, a year-to-year increase of just under 12%.

“The number of crimes targeting Muslims cratered,” Levin said. “Anti-Semitic crimes dropped. But the ones targeting Latinos increased for the third year.”

The FBI counted 188 anti-Muslim hate crimes, down from 273 the year before. There were 835 anti-Semitic incidents, compared to 938 the previous year. And there were 485 anti-Latino crimes, up from 427 in 2017.

In California, there was a nearly 4% decline in hate crimes to 1,063. But Los Angeles experienced close to a 6% increase in hate crimes for a total of 277. The most common ones targeted a person’s race.

Last year included the deadliest attack on Jews in modern U.S. history, when a gunman killed 11 worshipers at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh on Oct. 27, 2018. Before the shootings, the suspect posted online about immigrant “invaders” aided by Jewish-run refugee resettlement groups and called Jews the “enemy of white people.” He awaits trial in federal court.

The FBI’s report follows its 2017 hate crimes count, which showed the largest increase since 2001. That year, anti-Muslim crimes spiked after the Sept. 11 attacks.

Tuesday’s report is the second annual release of hate crimes statistics during Donald Trump’s presidency. As he campaigns for reelection, Trump has defended himself against accusations that his presidency has emboldened hate groups.

Jewish organizations, including the Anti-Defamation League, have blamed Trump’s rhetoric about immigrants and his embrace of anti-Jewish conspiracy theories and memes as part of what led to increases in 2017 in anti-Semitic incidents and those targeting Latinos and Muslims.

Trump has tweeted anti-Jewish and anti-Muslim memes from known extremists, including a campaign tweet that featured a symbol similar to the Star of David, images of cash and the phrase “most corrupt candidate ever” to describe Hillary Clinton. In late 2017, Trump tweeted anti-Muslim videos from the far-right group Britain First, drawing condemnation from then-Prime Minister Theresa May.

This year, the president faced critics after he tweeted to four congresswomen of color — three of whom were born in the U.S. — to “go back” to the “totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.”

In his own defense, the president has said he is the “least racist person there is anywhere in the world.” He has pointed to his own family, which includes a Jewish daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren, to fend off accusations of anti-Semitism.

Criminologists and civil rights groups concede that hate crimes began to increase in 2015 under President Obama after six years of decline. Studies have also shown that hate crimes tend to grow during election years and times of tense political fights over issues such as immigration or national security, Levin said.

“You can’t prove that every move Trump makes leads to a hate crime,” he said. “But you can look at the year 2016 and see a spike in hate crimes, or look at the increase in anti-immigrant rhetoric and in recent years and see an increase in anti-Latino crimes.”

Daniel Elbaum, chief advocacy officer of the American Jewish Committee, partly pointed to “the ugliness” of social and policy debates in the U.S. to explain the high number of hate crimes.

“There is nothing new about hate in America, but the combination of the ugliness in our public discourse and the ease with which this incendiary language can be spread has clearly had disastrous, sometimes fatal, consequences,” said Elbaum. “That is what we saw with the murders at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh and the Chabad of Poway.”

Experts said the FBI’s count probably misses many — possibly most — hate crimes that took place last year.

There are more than 16,000 law enforcement agencies in the country, and they report hate crime numbers to the FBI voluntarily. In the count released Tuesday, more than 14,000 agencies did not report data or told the bureau there were no hate crimes in their jurisdictions.

That included all of Alabama, where agencies reported zero hate crimes. There were also no hate crimes reported in St. Petersburg, Fla.; Madison, Wisc.; and Newark, N.J.

It’s also harder to analyze the FBI’s data over time because of changes to how the bureau has collected information since its first report on hate crimes in 1992. The FBI 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.” Crimes against Hindus, Sikhs and Arabs have only been counted since 2015. Another problem is that victims don’t always call the police.

In addition, the FBI’s data conflict with the Justice Department’s National Crime Victimization Survey, which estimates there to be 250,000 hate crimes each year. The Justice Department count doesn’t include intimidation and vandalism incidents, which are included in the FBI’s hate crimes report.


©2019 Los Angeles Times

Visit the Los Angeles Times at www.latimes.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


Judge Defines Bitcoin as Currency Under D.C. Money Laundering Law
Judge Defines Bitcoin as Currency Under D.C. Money Laundering Law
August 3, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - A federal judge’s recent ruling gave prosecutors nationwide a new tool for pursuing money launderers by redefining bitcoin as a form of currency. The ruling was based on the prosecution of a man who tried to evade criminal charges after he allegedly transferred more... Read More

Feds Begin Prosecuting Fraudulent PPP Coronavirus Loans. Some Cases Will Be Hard to Win
Feds Begin Prosecuting Fraudulent PPP Coronavirus Loans. Some Cases Will Be Hard to Win

WASHINGTON — One Los Angeles business owner allegedly went to Las Vegas and gambled away some of the $9 million he received in emergency government loans earmarked for his employees. A Texas man is accused of using his $1.5 million Paycheck Protection Program funds to pay... Read More

Trials of Parents in College Admissions Scam to Proceed in Groups, Judge Says
Trials of Parents in College Admissions Scam to Proceed in Groups, Judge Says

Ten of the remaining parents charged with paying bribes to get their children into elite U.S. colleges will be tried in two groups, after a federal judge rejected their appeal for separate proceedings. “There is common and overlapping evidence” in the cases, and the parents will... Read More

Twitter Says Direct Messages Accessed in 36 of 130 Hack Victims
Social Media
Twitter Says Direct Messages Accessed in 36 of 130 Hack Victims

Twitter Inc. completed its review of the 130 accounts that were hacked on its social network last week and discovered that the attackers accessed direct messages for as many as 36 of them, including one elected official in the Netherlands. Twitter’s analysis offered no indication that... Read More

Senate Takes Aim at Scammers Taking Money From COVID-19 Victims
U.S. Senate
Senate Takes Aim at Scammers Taking Money From COVID-19 Victims
July 22, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON -- Scammers who cheat desperate consumers out of money during the coronavirus pandemic prompted calls for federal legislation to crack down on them during a Senate hearing Tuesday. The proposals would set new standards for data privacy, penalize price-gougers and toughen penalties for retailers who... Read More

Coronavirus Fraudsters Keep Prosecutors Busy
Coronavirus Fraudsters Keep Prosecutors Busy

A Hollywood film producer allegedly tried to use $1.7 million from the federal coronavirus business relief fund to pay personal credit card bills. Two New England men allegedly applied for more than half a million in refundable loans through the program by claiming to have dozens... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top