FBI Report Shows Jews Were Most Targeted in Religion-Based Hate Crimes in 2018

Credit: Wikimedia

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) is urging both law enforcement and lawmakers to take action after a new FBI report showed Jews and Jewish institutions were the group most targeted in hate crimes over 2018 – continuing a trend that has been in place since 1991.

The FBI’s annual Hate Crime Statistics Act (HCSA) report found that after three consecutive years of increases, hate crimes decreased very slightly in 2018 (7,120 in 2018 versus 7,175 in 2017). However, although religion-based hate crimes decreased overall by around eight percent from 2017, nearly 60 percent of the attacks targeted Jews and Jewish institutions. In addition, hate crime murders hit a 27-year high in 2018; mostly attributable to the Pittsburgh Tree of Life Synagogue murders.

“It is unacceptable that Jews and Jewish institutions continue to be at the center of religion-based hate crime attacks,” said ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt. “We need to take concrete action to address and combat this significant problem. We strongly urge Congress to immediately pass the Khalid Jabara and Heather Heyer National Opposition to Hate, Assault, and Threats to Equality (NO HATE) Act. By improving hate crime training, prevention, best practices, and data collection, we can stem hate crimes nationwide.”

More data from the FBI Report:

  • There were 24 hate crime murders in 2018, the highest since the FBI began tracking and reporting hate crimes in 1991.
  • Race-based hate crimes were the most common type of hate crime. Nearly 50 percent of race-based hate crimes were directed against African-Americans.
  • Hate crimes against LGBTQ+ individuals increased by nearly six percent, including an increase in crimes against transgender people of 42 percent.
  • Anti-Hispanic hate crimes increased 14 percent, up for the third straight year.
Source: Anti-Defamation League

Though hate crimes appear to have declined overall in 2018, it is important to note that the data in the FBI report is based on voluntary reporting by local law enforcement. In 2018, 110 fewer law enforcement agencies participated in the HCSA program, and at least 85 cities with populations over 100,000 did not report any data to the FBI or reported zero hate crimes.

“Our nation cannot address crimes that we are not measuring. ADL is working with our coalition and other civil rights, education, and interfaith partners to make sure cities report credible data. This starts with training our nation’s law enforcement officers to identify, report, and respond to those targeted by hate violence,” said Greenblatt. “ADL calls on the FBI and Department of Justice to take similar steps with local law enforcement agencies and the courts to address underreporting of hate crimes.”

Jenn Bentley is a freelance journalist and editor currently serving as Editor-in-Chief of Big Easy Magazine. Her work has also been featured in publications such as Wander N.O. More, The High Tech Society, FansShare, Yahoo News, Examiner.com, and others. Follow her on Twitter: @JennBentley_

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