More hate crime victims in 2015, FBI report shows

(Graph: FBI)

(Graph: FBI)

The FBI’s annual report on hate crimes shows fewer incidents in 2015 but more victims than the year before, according to Monday’s announcement.

The total number of incidents resulted in 5,818 offenses and 7,121 victims last year — that’s 600 fewer incidents but 394 more victims, the Hate Crime Statistics report shows. Plus another 32 multiple-bias incidents that affected 52 victims.

Of the victims, 59.2 percent were targeted because of race or ethnicity; 19.7 percent for religion; 17.7 percent for sexual orientation; 1.7 percent for gender identity; 1.2 percent for a disability; and 0.4 percent for gender.

Attacks against blacks accounted for 1,745 of all hate crimes in 2015 and 2,201 victims. As predicted by civil rights organizations, attacks against Muslims increased in 2015, continuing an upward trend from the year before, with an additional 103 hate crimes. Anti-Islam attacks accounted for 257 of the 1,244 crimes against a religious group.

The report also identifies another 6,885 hate related offenses, such as simple assault and aggravated battery. Of the total, 2,338 were crimes against property.

For the report, the FBI collected the data from approximately 15,000 law enforcement agencies from around the country. According to the Bureau’s definitions, a hate crime is considered a criminal act predicated on the victims’ sexual orientation, gender, race, ethnicity, or religion.

The 2015 results continued a downward trend as the total number of incidents in 2014 was also down. Yet, it’s unclear what the data will look like in 2016, a year when divisive, racially tinged presidential politics spurred high profile acts of vandalism and violence.