Federal Bureau of Investigation data shows 18 hate crimes logged in South Dakota in 2016

Sergio Conner
November 14, 2017

Today, the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting Program released Hate Crime Statistics, 2016, its latest annual compilation of bias-motivated incidents reported throughout the U.S.

Twenty-one percent of hate crimes in 2016 were motivated by religion.

Analysis of the 6,063 single-bias incidents involving 7,509 victims revealed that 21 percent were prompted by religious bias, the second-highest motivation for offenders behind race or ethnicity.

Authorities warn the actual number of hate crimes is likely much higher. Hate crimes targeting Arabs rose by about 38 percent, while crimes targeting whites and Latinos rose by about 17 percent and 15 percent respectively.

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The figures are a big drop from 2015, when the state reported 36 hate crimes. Over half of the religion-related offences were anti-Jewish, while a quarter were anti-Muslim, according to the data.

The report, which gathered information submitted by law enforcement agencies across the country, revealed that almost all hate crimes were based on a single bias, with 57.5 percent motivated by race or ethnicity bias, 21 percent motivated by a religious bias and 17.7 percent motivated by a sexual orientation bias. As many as 62 percent of those hate crimes targeted gay men. "The department of justice is committed to ensuring that individuals can live without fear of being a victim of violent crime based on who they are, what they believe, or how they worship", attorney general Jeff Sessions said in a statement. The rest were crimes against property and crimes against society.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy group, said in a statement that the new Federal Bureau of Investigation hate crime report shows the need for all Americans to stand up to increasing bigotry nationwide.

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