By Christopher Bouzane
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), 2018 marked a 16 year high for personal attacks motivated by prejudice and bias. The FBI reports that there had been a significant increase in attacks against Latinos compared to Muslims and Arab-Americans.
In their annual report, the FBI stated that after a consecutive three year increase, hate-crimes had flatlined. Despite this, the FBI states that California had 1,063 incidents reported in 2018, this is more than any other state in the country.
Additionally, the FBI says that while crimes against property had dropped, physical assault crimes had increased to 63 percent of the 7,120 reported hate-crimes nationwide.
According to the FBI, a hate-crime is defined as a “criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender or gender identity”.
In 2018, there were 4,571 hate-crimes reported, many of them are made against various ethnic and religious backgrounds. The FBI also says that a majority of these reported incidents occurred in some of the country’s largest cities.
Even though state and local police forces are not required to report hate-crimes to the FBI, the bureau has made a consensus effort to raise awareness and increase response rates across the country. Regardless, many cities and some states across the country have still failed to report incidents or collect the data supplied by the FBI.
Because of this, the FBI’s access to the information obtainable has become limited from the current collected data. With cities and states not reporting and recording these incidents, it has hindered the effectiveness of the FBI when it comes to combating hate-crimes.
Aside from cities and states, the FBI has reported that more than half of all hate-crime victims never report the incident or file a complaint with the proper authorities. In addition, there had been an increased trend in overall violence.
“The trends show more violence, more interpersonal violence, and I think that’s probably reliable,” said former FBI crime analyst, James Nolan, to ‘The New York Times.’
Of the 4,571 reported hate-crimes, aggravated assaults rose by four percent, simple assaults by 15 percent and intimidation by 13 percent. Both simple assaults and intimidation had increased in 2018.
Despite a nationally declining rate of violent crime in the United States, these indicators still increased.
Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University at San Bernardino, created an independent analysis of the FBI’s annual report.
“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,” said Levin. “There’s a diversifying base of groups that are being targeted. We’re getting back to more violence.”
The Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism also examined the statistics in cities like New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. They concluded that each of these cities are on a trend of reaching decade high numbers.
Hate-crimes against Asian, Black and Muslim people had decreased in New York. The most notable increase are attacks against New York’s Jewish communities. The same goes for Chicago, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh and Poway.
“The severity of these incidents seems to be increasing in both their aggressiveness and physicality,” said Levin.
Despite the FBI’s report showing a decrease in hate-crimes, it still reports a trend for an increase in the rise of violence across the country.