ADL Calls on Leaders to Redouble Efforts to Counter Hate After FBI Reports Hate Crimes Jumped 17 Percent

New national data says hate crimes targeting Jews spiked nearly 40 percent

New York, November 13, 2018 … ADL today said more must be done to address the divisive climate of hate in America after newly released FBI data showed hate crimes in the U.S. jumped 17 percent in 2017 with a 37 percent spike in crimes targeting Jews and Jewish institutions. The increase reported by the FBI mirrors the surge ADL found in its annual audit of anti-Semitic incidents.

In its annual Hate Crime Statistics Act (HCSA) report, the FBI said there were 7,175 hate crimes in 2017. The 17 percent jump was three times more than the 5 percent increase the agency reported in 2016. 

“Two weeks ago, we witnessed the most deadly anti-Semitic hate crime in American history. Today, we have another FBI study showing a big jump in hate crimes against Americans because of their race, religion, ethnicity, and sexual orientation,” said ADL CEO and National Director Jonathan A. Greenblatt. “This report provides further evidence that more must be done to address the divisive climate of hate in America. That begins with leaders from all walks of life and from all sectors of society forcefully condemning anti-Semitism, bigotry, and hate whenever it occurs.”

For 2017, the FBI reported:

  • A 23 percent increase in religion-based hate crimes. The 1,564 crimes reported in 2017 was the second highest number of religion-based crimes ever, surpassed only in 2001 in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
  • Attacks on Jews accounted for 60 percent of all religion-based hate crimes, the highest of any targeted religious group. There were 938 crimes against Jews in 2017, up from 684 in 2016.
  • An 18 percent increase in race-based crimes, accounting for 58 percent of all hate crimes last year. Crimes against African-Americans were the plurality of these and accounted for 28 percent of all reported hate crimes.
  • A 24 percent increase in hate crimes against Latinos. There were also significant increases in the number of hate crimes directed against Arab Americans (100 percent), Asian-Pacific Americans (20 percent), and Native Americans (63 percent).
  • A 5 percent rise in crimes directed against LGBT individuals, rising from 1,076 crimes in 2016 to 1,130 in 2017.

The FBI data is based on local law enforcement reporting to the Bureau. This year, that came from 16,149 law enforcement agencies, the highest level of participation since the Hate Crime Statistics Act’s enactment in 1990 and 6 percent more than the number that participated in 2016.

However, as with past FBI reports, there remains a serious gap in reporting. At least 91 cities with populations exceeding 100,000 people either did not report any data to the FBI or affirmatively reported zero hate crimes.

“You can’t move what you can’t measure; without accurate reporting we don’t have a real sense of how widespread hate crimes are and what needs to be done to address bias in society,” Greenblatt said. “It is incumbent on police departments, mayors, governors, and county officials across the country to tally hate crimes data and report it to the FBI. The FBI can only report what the data they receive. We must do more to make sure that cities report credible data.”

ADL also called on federal and state officials to redouble efforts to track and disrupt escalating community tensions – including more comprehensive hate crime laws and better training of police officials. After the August 2017 Charlottesville white supremacist rally and violence, ADL and a coalition of more than 80 civil rights, religious, education, and professional organizations sent a letter to the Department of Justice recommending a series of federal, state, and local hate crime prevention training, funding, research and outreach programs.

ADL has updated its interactive hate crime map with the latest FBI data. The map includes links to every hate crime law on the books in the U.S. and FBI hate crime data from 2004-2017 for states and cities with more than 100,000 residents. It gives users the ability to navigate hate crimes data and laws at the national, statewide and city level, and breaks out information on crimes against a broad spectrum of targeted populations.

ADL's own annual Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents for 2017, which includes both criminal and non-criminal acts, found that anti-Semitic incidents rose 57 percent in 2017, the largest single year increase on record and the second highest reported since ADL started to keep track in 1979.

ADL is the world’s leading anti-hate organization. Founded in 1913 in response to an escalating climate of anti-Semitism and bigotry, its timeless mission is to protect the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all. Today, ADL continues to fight all forms of hate with the same vigor and passion. A global leader in exposing extremism, delivering anti-bias education, and fighting hate online, ADL is the first call when acts of anti-Semitism occur. ADL’s ultimate goal is a world in which no group or individual suffers from bias, discrimination or hate.