Donald Trump effect? Hate crimes in the United States reached the highest level in a decade in 2019

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This is stated by the FBI in a report. The most serious was in El Paso, Texas, in August of last year, when a 21-year-old stormed a Walmart and killed 23 people.

Hate crimes in the United States reached the highest level in more than a decade last yearwhile there were more hate murders than ever, according to the FBI.

The sharp increase in hate-driven homicides – there were 51 last year, according to the FBI – was attributed in large part to the mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, in August 2019. Authorities say that in that attack, a 21-year-old man driven by hatred of Latinos stormed a Walmart, killed 23 people and injured many more.

The death toll from the El Paso bombing more than doubled that of the deadliest hate crime of 2018, the mass shooting of Jews at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.

In total, the FBI collected data from 7,314 criminal incidents motivated by race, ethnicity or gender identity biases in 2019. It was the third year in a row that this measurement exceeded 7,100 incidents and was the highest number since the FBI recorded 7,783 incidents in 2008.

Experts argue that the FBI data likely underestimates the number of hate crimes in the United States, both because many victims do not report incidents and because local agencies are not required to report hate crime data to the FBI.

For example, last year only 2,172 agencies reported hate crime data to the FBI, out of a total of more than 15,000 law enforcement agencies across the country, according to the FBI report. (Among the important omissions in the data in recent years is the death of a protester in 2017, during a rally of white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia.) “It is important to note that, due to the nature of the reporting of the crimes of hate, the FBI’s annual report vastly underestimates the true level of hate crimes in the country“The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which tracks hate groups, said Monday.

The SPLC noted that the rise in hate crimes in recent years has come as white supremacist groups multiply. According to data collected by the center, the number of white nationalist groups it increased 55% between 2017 and 2019.

The rise in war crimes last year highlighted the upward trend in crimes driven by prejudice during the Trump era, and harsh rhetoric against Latino immigrants was seen as the motive behind the perpetrator of the El Paso shooting.

“Politics has a role”said Brian Levin, a professor at California State University in San Bernardino (CSUSB) and director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at that university.

“The president’s speech has been identified in a series of attacks that occurred,” Levin added, “but also the day-to-day growth of hate crimes recorded by the FBI shows that there are increases after sustained and fervent statements from the president that enter an internet feedback loop that also ends in other speeches, both in the workplace and on television ”.

The overall increase was fueled by an increase in attacks particularly against Hispanics and Jews. The FBI reported 953 anti-Semitic hate crimes that occurred last year, representing a 14% increase over the previous year and the highest number since 2008, according to a CSUSB report analyzing the latest FBI report and released Monday.

Hate crimes against Latinos rose almost 9%, from 485 incidents in 2018 to 527 last year. At the same time, hate crimes against black people fell to the lowest percentage of total hate crimes since the FBI began collecting this type of data, although blacks were still highly overrepresented in the statistics, according to Levin’s report. . Last year, hate crimes against black people fell slightly, less than 1%.

“Blacks are still the No. 1 target, with a level that duplicates that which they represent in the American population ”, specified the report.

Analyzing the preliminary data for 2020, Levin observed general drops in hate crimes, a fact that he explained as a result of social distancing measures and the closure of shops due to the coronavirus pandemic, except in three cities: Los Angeles, Houston and San Antonio. And this year it also found increases in bias crimes against two groups in particular, transgender people and Asian Americans; the latter, he said, are more likely to have been affected by anti-Asian sentiment sparked by false claims about the pandemic.

Tim Arango. The New York Times

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