Hate crimes overall climb 4.6 percent

Stock image depicting a crime scene with evidence markers

Nazi-themed graffiti was found in the town of Wellsville, N.Y., the same day that Donald Trump won the presidential election, November 9, 2016.

A report released Monday says there were more than 6,100 hate crimes a year ago.

Nationally, there were more than 6,100 hate crimes in 2016, up about 5 percent over the previous year.

The remaining incidents were motivated by a gender identity, disability, or gender bias. Most of the hate crimes were based on race and religion.

More than half of those against people were assault cases, while almost 45 percent were crimes of intimidation.

Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, said the increase in hate crimes nationally reflects an increase in hate crimes around the 2016 presidential election, a big increase in some large jurisdictions, a sustained level of crimes against large groups including African Americans who have always been the the top target of hate crimes, and a jump in crimes against Latinos, whites, Muslims and transgender people. The definition can include everything from vandalism to murder.

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An unrelated report released in February found the number of hate groups in the U.S.

Former FBI director James Comey spoke about the bureau's tracking of hate crimes before his dismissal in 2017.

Some civil rights groups caution that the FBI's annual figures are artificially low because they rely on voluntary reporting. Anti-white incidents increased from 613 incidents in 2015 to 720 incidents in 2016.

Incidents targeting Jews increased from 664 incidents in 2015 to 684 incidents in 2016. It identified the 2016 presidential elections, and particularly the divisive candidacy of President Donald Trump, as a cause of anti-Semitic acts.

Sessions said that the Justice Department's Hate Crimes Subcommittee will continue to "explore ways to expand and improve training for federal, state, and local prosecutors and investigators; improve data collection of hate crimes; and to create even better partnerships with local law enforcement and affected communities". "We will not stop until everyone feels free from hate in their communities".

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