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Are Hate Crimes Really Increasing?

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Eduardo Munoz
/
Reuters

Since the election many of us have heard reports of a widespread increase in hate crimes across the United States, with many of the reports coming from rural areas. Quartz.com set out to discover whether there was anything to the purported increase.

The answer is more complicated than it seems.

That’s because there is no national database from which to draw information about events in such a short time period. We do know from FBI data, however, that hate crimes have increased by 7% since last year, largely driven by an increase in attacks on Muslims. But the government is simply not set up to collect and distribute that amount of information on a weekly basis.

What we can do instead is look at various local statistics. New York City, for example, has seen a 31% rise in hate crimes since the election. A hate-crime-mapping project by journalist Shaun King reported “300 reports of violence, hate speech, and harassment taking place in the [10 days following the election] across the USA.”