WASHINGTON - Hate crimes in the United States rose moderately last year, with hate-motivated incidents against several target groups, including Arabs, Muslims and transgender people, showing sharper increases, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The FBI’s annual hate crime statistics, released Monday, showed there were 6,121 hate crime incidents in 2016, up 4.6 percent from 5,850 in 2015.
The rise marked the first time since 2004 that hate crime in the United States has increased two years in a row. In 2015, hate crime rose by seven percent.
The latest overall figure included sharper spikes in hate crimes targeting several minority groups.
Anti-transgender hate crime jumped by 44 percent, anti-Arab incidents surged by 38 percent, anti-Muslim hate crime rose 19.5 percent, anti-white hate crime increased 17.5 percent, and anti-Latino hate-motivated incidents jumped by 15 percent.
Anti-Jewish incidents rose by three percent, anti-black hate crime fell by 0.3 percent and anti-Asian offenses remained flat, the report showed.
The FBI defines a hate crime as a criminal offense motivated by “ bias against race, ethnicity, ancestry, religion, sexual orientation, disability, gender, and gender identity”
The bureau has been tracking hate crime data since 1992.
Last year, the bureau started including hate crime against Arabs, Hindus, and Sikhs.
There were seven anti-Sikh incidents, up from six; 10 anti-Hindu hate crimes, up from five, and 105 anti-transgender hate crimes, up from 73.
The FBI's hate crime statistics lag by about a year and widely believed to underreport the extent of hate crimes in America.
Data from California State University at San Bernardino indicate that hate crime has continued to rise in major U.S. cities in 2017.