[Excerpt from AAI Issue Brief: Hate Crimes: emphasis added below]
“Several studies suggest hateful rhetoric during the 2016 Presidential Campaign season, as well as the election of President Donald Trump, have correlated with the highest levels of anti-Muslim hate crimes since the immediate aftermath of 9/11.
In addition to the rise in hate crimes targeting Muslims reported by the FBI in 2015, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) reported 437 instances of hateful intimidation and harassment from November 9-14, 2016. In February 2017, the SPLC released a report highlighting an increase in hate groups across the country, rising from 892 in 2015 to 917 in 2016. The biggest driver of hate groups comes from a 197% increase in anti-Muslim hate groups, from 34 in 2015 to 101 in 2016.
Arab American and immigrant communities have increasingly been subjected to hate crimes and bias-motivated acts in the housing context. Often, this behavior is exhibited through outright refusals to rent or sell homes to Arab Americans in certain areas and housing complex developments, as well as intimidation and assault by neighbors on their property, arson attempts, and firebombing of vehicles.
Arab students have also been subject to hate activity and violence at their college dormitories and residence halls, including but not limited to vandalism of their property, rocks thrown through their windows, and swastikas and offensive epithets posted on their doors.
Perhaps most troubling, however, is that hate crime data is historically underreported – something the FBI acknowledges. FBI Director, James Comey argued “We need to do a better job of tracking and reporting hate crimes to fully understand what is happening in our communities and how to stop it.” One reason for such underreporting is that law enforcement agencies are not required to report hate crimes to the FBI. This includes more than 3,000 state and local law enforcement agencies across the U.S. Additionally, victims of hate crimes often fail to report the incident to law enforcement for a variety of reasons… [N]early two-thirds of hate crimes are unaccounted for.
As this trend continues, it is imperative that community members report to law enforcement when they are the target of a hate crime. ”
~Hon. William Haddad (Ret.)