The number of hate crimes in America spiked last year for the first time after years of decline, according to new FBI data.
The number of hate crimes in 2016 jumped by nearly 300 reported cases compared to the year prior, with 6,121 incidents reported the FBI last year compared to 5,850 in 2015.
That’s a concerning spike that defies a trend since the agency first began recording data on the type of crime in 1992. There were 8,759 hate crimes reported to the FBI in 1996, for instance, even though there were more police departments that participated in that particular survey.
The rise in hate crimes seems to confirm anecdotal reports from last year that indicated more and more hate crimes were being committed, a condition that was blamed at least in part by the contentious and searing national political debate that surrounded the 2016 election between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.
Mr Trump, for his part, said then that he did not support hate crimes, and urged his followers not to engage in those acts after receiving criticism for his divisive rhetoric.
“If it helps, I will say this, and I will say right to the cameras: Stop it, Mr Trump told CBS’ 60 Minutes last year just after election day.
The now-president has been criticized during his presidency as well, however. Following the demonstrations in Charlottesville, in which one young woman died after a car driven by a white supremacists plowed through a crowd, Mr Trump was criticized for what some saw as a tepid response to the violence. The President eventually denounced white supremacy, but then later appeared to sympathize with the pro-Confederate monument demonstrators, and asked if taking down statues of America’s forefathers would be the next step after leaders of the confederacy.
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