FBI Report Shows Fewer Hate Crimes, But More Hate-Driven Violence

By Shani Saxon Nov 13, 2019

The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) on Tuesday (November 12) released its 2018 hate crime statistics. The data points to a slight dip in hate crimes across the country, but violence against individuals rose to the highest numbers the agency has seen in 16 years. 

The report indicated an increase in “crimes against persons," according to NPR. Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University San Bernardino, spoke to the news outlet about the conclusions that can be made from the data. “We're seeing a leaner and meaner type of hate crime going on," he said. "Homicides were up and crimes against persons were up and that's an important thing to look at."

Levin, who also co-authored a law enforcement data report that was released on Tuesday, told NPR that hate crimes in 2018 maintained a typical pattern:


Levin said the increase in assaults was almost evenly distributed across demographic groups, with African-Americans, Jews, Whites, gays and Latinos targeted the most. As in previous years, the majority of hate crimes reported in 2018 were motivated by bias against race and ethnicity, religion and sexual orientation.

Additional and findings, per NPR:



  • In hate crimes fueled by racism, African Americans continue to be the most frequently targeted, though anti-Black incidents overall fell to a record low share of all hate crime in 2018.
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  • Latinos continued to experience an increase in racially motivated incidents. Levin, the researcher, said such incidents rose 13 percent over one year and 48 percent over five years.
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  • The LGBTQ community also faced bias-motivated attacks in 2018. Incidents targeting gay males increased by nearly 7 perfect, and anti-transgender hate crimes rose nearly 34 percent.
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  • Anti-Latino, anti-gay, anti-Asian, anti-disability, anti-transgender, anti-Sikh and anti-White hate crimes increased in 2018.
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Not all hate crimes are reported, so experts say this type of data is imperfect by nature. Regardless, advocates like Maya Berry, executive director of the Arab American Institute, said in a statement released to NPR that there is a direct correlation between hate crimes and the dangerous rhetoric being pushed around issues like immigration.

“The data also expose a disturbing trend in our politics—and the impact it is having on people,” Berry said. “The Trump administration has advanced policies, and the president has trafficked in rhetoric, targeting the same communities that have also experienced a surge of hate violence.”

Read the full report.