Latinos and transgender individuals are the biggest targets of hate crimes, according to new data from the FBI.
The FBI’s score, which included data submitted by more than 2,000 police departments and law enforcement agencies across the country, counted 7,120 hate crimes in 2018. While down 1% than the year prior, the data actually shows an increase in attacks against people, rather than property.
Among the groups seeing rises in violent hate crimes are Latinos and trans people. There were 485 reports of anti-Latino crimes last year, a 14% increase from 2017, and 168 attacks targeting trans and gender-nonconforming people, accounting for a massive 41% increase.
The figures, which experts believe is actually an undercount, aren’t surprising given the hike of white nationalist rhetoric and brutality across the country. While President Donald Trump, who himself has made anti-Latino and anti-Muslim comments throughout his presidency, denies that he has emboldened hate groups, many are unconvinced.
“You can’t prove that every move Trump makes leads to a hate crime,” Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at Cal State San Bernardino, told the Los Angeles Times. “But you can look at the year 2016 and see a spike in hate crimes, or look at the increase in anti-immigrant rhetoric and in recent years and see an increase in anti-Latino crimes.”
Under Trump, immigrants and queer people have seen heightened rates of policy attacks. As the Guardian reports, when the FBI released the new data last week, the president tweeted myths that recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) were “hardened criminals.”
“There is nothing new about hate in America, but the combination of the ugliness in our public discourse and the ease with which this incendiary language can be spread has clearly had disastrous, sometimes fatal, consequences,” Daniel Elbaum, chief advocacy officer of the American Jewish Committee, told the Los Angeles Times.
Just two weeks ago, an elder man in Milwaukee, Wisconsin threw battery acid on a Peruvian-American after demanding him to go back to his country and saying he is not a U.S. citizen, which he is. The man has since been charged with a hate crime.