WASHINGTON: Hate crimes surged 17 per cent in the United States in Donald Trump’s first year as president, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) said in a new report on Tuesday.
The FBI said that 7,175 hate crimes were reported during 2017, compared to 6,121 in 2016.
Hate crimes of all types, based on race, religion, gender and sexual orientation, were higher.
African-Americans were the leading target of crimes based on race, and Jews were the most-targeted group by religion, according to the FBI. The total number of hate crimes was the highest since 2008.
The FBI did not explain the increase, which came amid a perceived general rise in social and political tensions across the country marked by the election of the divisive Trump.
But it did note that more law enforcement jurisdictions were reporting hate crimes than previous years.
The report came after the country was shocked in recent weeks by two mass shootings, including one in which 11 Jewish worshippers were killed in a Pittsburgh synagogue by an anti-Semitic gunman, and a series of pipe bombs sent to foes of Donald Trump by a Florida supporter of the president. None of the bombs exploded.
“This report is a call to action, and we will heed that call,” said Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker in a statement.
“The Department of Justice’s top priority is to reduce violent crime in America, and hate crimes are violent crimes. I am particularly troubled by the increase in anti-Semitic hate crimes,” he said.