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FBI report: Jews were the most targeted demographic for hate crimes in the US among religious groups in 2019

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Total hate crime incidents rose to 7,314, marking the fourth increase in the past five years. After declining in 2018, religion-based hate crimes increased by 7 percent, with 63 percent of the total number of reported religion-based hate crimes directed at Jews and Jewish institutions. A 14-percent increase in anti-Jewish hate crimes, from 835 in 2018 to 953 in 2019.

Jews were the most targeted demographic for hate crimes among religious groups in 2019, according to an FBI report released on Monday.

Of the 1,650 religious-motivated hate crimes in the U.S. reported, 63 percent, or almost 995, were anti-Jewish,  2.5 percentage point increase from 2018, the report said.

The FBI’s annual Hate Crime Statistics Act (HCSA) report revealed that 2019 was the deadliest year on record with 51 hate crime murders – a 113-percent increase over the previous record of 24 set in 2018.

Total hate crime incidents rose to 7,314, marking the fourth increase in the past five years. After declining in 2018, religion-based hate crimes increased by 7 percent, with 63 percent of the total number of reported religion-based hate crimes directed at Jews and Jewish institutions. A 14-percent increase in anti-Jewish hate crimes, from 835 in 2018 to 953 in 2019.

Last year consisted of numerous anti-Semitic attacks against Jews and Jewish institutions, from a lone gunman shooting at Chabad of Poway in Southern California in April 2019 on the last day of Passover, which left a 60-year-old woman dead, to a spree of anti-Jewish incidents in the New York metropolitan area.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) called on Congress and law enforcement agencies across the U.S. to improve data collection and reporting of hate crimes.

“When one individual is targeted by a hate crime, it hurts the whole community—that’s why people are feeling vulnerable and afraid,” said ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt. “We urge Congress to immediately pass the Jabara-Heyer NO HATE Act to improve hate crime training, prevention, reporting and best practices.”

Race-based hate crimes remained the most common type of hate crime, as has been the case every year since the FBI began reporting hate crime data nearly three decades ago. Constituting over 50 percent of all hate crimes, race-based hate crimes underscore the importance of the national conversation aimed at countering systemic anti-Black racism.

Anti-Hispanic hate crimes rose nearly 9 percent, the fourth straight year of escalating numbers. This is a trend not unrelated to the escalation of anti-immigrant rhetoric, bigotry, and dehumanization in the public discourse.

After a 41-percent increase in 2018, hate crimes targeting individuals based on gender identity rose another 18 percent last year.

The increase in reported hate crimes comes despite the fact that, for the second straight year, the number of law enforcement agencies providing data to the FBI has declined.

The FBI’s report is based on voluntary local law enforcement reporting to the Bureau. In 2019, 86 percent of participating agencies didn’t report a single hate crime to the FBI, including at least 71 cities with populations over 100,000. Just over 2,000, or 14 percent, of the more than 15,000 participating agencies actively reported at least one hate crime.

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