Reports of hate crimes have risen over the past three years. From 2016 to 2017, reports increased by 17 percent. According to the FBI’s release of Hate Crime Statistics for 2017, approximately three out of five were motivated by ethnicity or race, with sexual orientation and religion being the two other primary motivations. Locations of crimes typically happened near homes or residences, while streets and schools came in at second and third, respectively. From 6,370 offenders, about 50 percent of them were white; almost half of the victims of hate crimes were black. As for hate crimes based on religion, over half of the victims were Jewish.
Hate crimes have been on the rise due to increased racial divisions in political discourse. Although not classified as a hate crime, controversies such as high school students performing a Nazi salute in a picture seems to have added fuel to the proverbial fire. Indeed, many hate crimes have been committed in a span of weeks. In October, a white man in Kentucky had fatally shot two black people at a store, and earlier attempted to enter a majority black church. In Pittsburgh, a white man had killed 11 worshipers at a synagogue, with the motivation being anti-Semitism. It is likely that without any attempts to curb or otherwise monitor hate speech, it is likely that more hate crimes will be committed not only this year, but the next year as well.