The number of hate crimes reported to the FBI in 2017 went up to 7,175 from 6,121 in 2016, with the state of New Jersey, where many Indian Americans live, coming in fourth in the nation according to the FBI’s annual hate crimes statistics, which was released this week.
The data continues to show an increase in hate crimes for the third year in a row as the numbers represent a 17 percent increase, which is a significant jump from the five percent increase between 2015 and 2016.
Similarly, according to a report by the Record, nearly 500 hate crimes were reported in the state in 2017, which is a 76 percent jump from the previous year.
Also a total of 495 hate crimes were reported to the FBI in 2017, of those, 260 were linked to bias based on race or ethnicity and 180 involved people or locations targeted because of religion, the Record reports.
According to a South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) press release, this is an alarming upward trend in hate crimes, especially against Indian Americans of Sikh origin and Arab Americans, and it has now consistently surpassed the spike immediately after the attacks of September 11, 2001.
On another note, the overall number of hate crimes targeting Muslim Americans has decreased by 11 percent however, the 2017 total of 273 anti-Muslim hate crimes continues to be a historically high number, the press release adds.
Since November 2016, SAALT’s data on incidents of hate violence aimed at South Asian, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Middle Eastern and Arab Americans show that more than 80 percent of the documented incidents are motivated by anti-Muslim sentiment, though the underreporting of hate crimes by local law enforcement agencies to the FBI remains to be a major problem, according to ProPublica’s “Documenting Hate” project.
Although, the FBI itself does not regularly submit the hate crimes it investigates to its own database, such as the failure to include Srinivas Kuchibhotla’s 2017 murder in Olathe, Kansas at the hands of a white supremacist by the name of Adam Purinton, who was convicted on a federal hate crimes charge earlier this year.
There is also a lack of political will on the part of the Department of Justice to collect this critical data combined with this administration’s flawed approach to understanding and addressing hate crimes makes us all less safe and places a burden of data collection on communities, the SAALT press release states.
In addition, the Trump administration’s continued refusal to acknowledge the growing problem of white supremacy ignores the primary motivation behind the violence targeting these communities as the 2017 FBI data shows that of the more than 6,000 hate crimes where the race of the offender was reported, more than 50 percent of the perpetrators were identified as white.