- “Hate crimes rose 17 percent last year, according to new FBI data.” – The Washington Post
- “Hate crimes are increasing alongside Trump’s rhetoric.” – The St. Louis Post Dispatch
- “FBI: Hate crimes in US, CA surge in first year of Trump’s presidency” – The San Francisco Chronicle
- “FBI: Surge in hate crimes in 2017 the largest since 9/11” – United Press Chronicle
And the data does show what they claim, a 17% rise in hate crimes, but there’s more you aren’t being told.
More Agencies Reported Hate Crimes in 2017
While law enforcement did report 7,175 hate crimes in 2017, up from 6,121 in 2016, there were over 1,000 additional agencies contributing information to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program.
That’s a roughly 6% increase in the number of agencies reporting statistics. While it’s not proportionate to the 17% rise in hate crimes, each new agency would only need to report one hate crime to explain the entire rise.
The FBI’s own press release on the matter noted that “some data in this publication may not be comparable to those in prior editions of Hate Crime Statistics because of differing levels of participation from year to year,” but journalists seem to have missed that. When the data is normalized (adjusting for the number of agencies participating), the 2017 figure amounts to 0.44 hate crimes per jurisdiction, which is similar to the past decades worth of data.
The Hate Crime “Surge” Began in 2014
Remember – I’m not disputing that there was a rise in hate crimes in 2017 from the year prior, but I am disputing that Donald Trump is somehow responsible. So on that note, it’s hard to imagine that President Trump is driving a trend that began a year before he even declared his candidacy for president, though that’s just what the chart below from the far-left Mother Jones shows:
While the upward trend begins in 2014-2015, strangely, the way Mother Jones reported on this fact was to report that “hate crimes are up 31% since Donald Trump announced his presidential run.” Do they think our eyes are broken?
The Initial Hate Crime “Surge” Was Due to a Spike in Anti-White Hate Crimes
Regardless of how Mother Jones wants to twist their timeline, the demographic that saw the largest immediate increase in hate crimes from 2015-2016 isn’t Muslims, Jews, African-Americans, or Hispanics…. It’s white people. If we’re to believe that white supremacists were emboldened by Trump’s candidacy, they certainly did a horrible job at picking their targets.
Furthermore, from 2016–2017, the number of anti-Muslim hate crimes actually decreased from 307 incidents to 273. The number of gender-identity-related hate crimes was cut by a third, and hate crimes against men tripled. Of course, hate crimes are extremely rare, so this only reflects six fewer anti-gender identity-related crimes, and 15 anti-male crimes. Still, the point here is that hate crimes didn’t increase among the groups supposedly “targeted” by the Trump administration’s rhetoric.
While the increase in hate crimes from 2016-17 was mostly proportional across the board (as we’d expect if this rise was mostly due to increased reporting), about half of the increase in total hate crimes the result of 254 additional hate crimes being committed against Jews, and 274 against African-Americans. Is Trump responsible for those? The burden of proof is on the journalist blaming Trump to prove that the specific hate crime(s) were caused by him.
What has Trump said that would incite anti-Jewish hate crimes? The man behind the worst anti-semitic massacre in American history certainly was no fan of the President. And what has Trump said that would incite anti-black hate crimes? If there were evidence that these hate crimes were committed in the name of Trump, we’d already have heard of it (and CNN would’ve milked each individual story for a week).
Until then, we merely have a correlation with no evidence of causation.