Hate crimes in nine U.S. metropolitan areas rose more than 20 percent last year—reversing a downward trend in the last few years—fueled in part due to the presidential campaign of Donald Trump, according to a prominent researcher’s new report.
California researcher Brian Levin said that bias crimes appeared to increase in some cities following the Nov. 8 election of President Donald Trump, including bomb threats to mosques and desecrations Jewish cemeteries.
Reuters reports that Levin is director of the nonpartisan Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino. He collected the data from police departments, and also notes that there is more willingness for victims to come forward.
New York reported the greatest number of hate crimes at 380, while Washington, D.C., had the largest percentage rise at 62 percent to 107 incidents.
Overall, there were 1,037 incidents, a 23.3 percent increase from the previous year in the nine areas researched: New York; Washington; Chicago; Philadelphia; Montgomery County, Maryland; Columbus, Ohio; Seattle; Long Beach, California; and Cincinnati.
Bias crimes against Muslims and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people accounted for much of the growth in hate crimes that were reported.
Levin believes that Trump’s campaign, which highlighted issues such as race, religion and national origin, could have influenced both the number of incidents and frequency of reporting them to police, though he notes that increased reporting is not the whole story, and Donald Trump’s rhetoric may be.
“I don’t think we can just explain away the increase with increased reporting,” he said.
SOURCE: NBC News/Reuters