FBI stats show uptick in anti-Semitism in 2016
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1,273 religious hate crimes in US last year

FBI stats show uptick in anti-Semitism in 2016

Anti-Semitic incidents made up 53.7% of total religious hate crimes last year, an 0.4% increase over 2015

A large swastika is spray-painted on the side of a car in a predominantly Jewish neighborhood in Boca Raton, Florida, on February 12, 2017. (screen capture: 7News Miami)
A large swastika is spray-painted on the side of a car in a predominantly Jewish neighborhood in Boca Raton, Florida, on February 12, 2017. (screen capture: 7News Miami)

The number of anti-Semitic incidents in the United States rose slightly in 2016 over the previous year, new hate crime statistics released by the FBI on Monday showed.

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, there were 1,273 religious hate crimes in 2016, of which 684, or 53.7 percent, were anti-Semitic.

In 2015, by contrast, there were 1,244 religious hate crimes, 29 fewer than 2016. Of those, 664 were anti-Semitic, 53.3% of total religious hate crimes.

Following Jews, Muslims were the targets of the second-largest number of hate crimes, with the FBI recording 307 anti-Islamic incidents in 2016, roughly a quarter of the total.

Overall, there were more than 6,100 hate crimes last year, up about 5% over the previous year. In 2015 and 2016, that number was driven by crimes against people due to race or ethnicity.

More than half the 4,229 racially motivated crimes were against black people.

The annual report is the most comprehensive accounting of hate crimes in the US. But authorities warn it is incomplete, in part because it is based on voluntary reporting by police agencies across the country.

The FBI statistics appeared to contradict a number of reports and polls over the past year suggesting a sharp rise in anti-Semitism in the US.

In April, the Anti-Defamation League released a report saying there were 1,266 anti-Semitic incidents in 2016, a 34% increase over 2015. That report included a spate of bomb threats against Jewish Community Centers across the country that were later traced back to a teenager in Israel.

A children’s playground in Brooklyn Heights, New York was vandalized with a swastika in November 2016. (Screenshot from Twitter via JTA)

Earlier this month, the ADL said the first nine months of 2017 saw a 67% increase in anti-Semitic incidents over the same period in 2016.

The ADL cited the 2016 campaign season — and particularly the candidacy of US President Donald Trump — as a catalyst for anti-Semitic activities and said there were 34 specific incidents associated with the election.

AP contributed to this report.

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