The US witnessed more hate crimes in 2016 than the previous year, with an increase of 4.6 per cent from 2015, new FBI data showed.
The total number of hate crimes in 2016 was 6,121, compared with 5,850 in 2015, the Federal Bureau of Investigation date revealed on Monday.
Those criminal incidents, the report said, were motivated by bias toward race, ethnicity, ancestry, religion, sexual orientation, disability, gender, or gender identity, reports Xinhua news agency.
According to the data, the number of hate crimes increased for a second consecutive year, and most were “single-bias incidents”.
Hate crime victims, explained the FBI, can be individuals, businesses, government entities, religious organisations, or society as whole, and they can be committed against persons, property, or society.
Of those single-bias offences in 2016, nearly 58 per cent were motivated by race, ethnicity or ancestry bias, while 21 per cent were driven by religious bias and about 18 per cent were caused due to bias towards sexual orientation.
More than half of the race-related incidents were anti-black, while some 20 per cent were anti-white. Over half of the religion-related offences were anti-Jewish, while a quarter were anti-Muslim, according to the data.
“No person should have to fear being violently attacked because of who they are, what they believe, or how they worship,” U. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement after the data was released.
The FBI report was based on voluntary reporting by over 15,000 local law enforcement agencies.
Sim Singh, the national advocacy manager of the Sikh Coalition, said the FBI statistics “represents the tip of the iceberg”.
Singh said it will be hard for the country to mobilise political will and resources necessary to address the issue if law enforcement agencies fail to document true extent of hate crimes.