Hate crimes jump 58 percent in San Francisco, FBI report shows

While numbers fall slightly in California, The City records an increase

San Francisco recorded a significant increase in hate crimes in 2018 compared to the year prior, according to new numbers released Tuesday by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Reports of hate crimes in San Francisco jumped 58 percent from 43 incidents in 2017 to 68 in the following year, an analysis of the FBI numbers shows.

San Francisco experienced the spike in reported hate crimes despite California recording a slight decrease during the same two years. The numbers statewide fell from 1,095 to 1,065.

The increase in San Francisco is seen most prominently in reports of hate crimes involving race, ethnicity or ancenstry, which rose from 19 in 2017 to 41 in 2018.

The City also recorded increases in hate crimes involving sexual orientation from 12 in 2017 to 17 in 2018.

San Francisco did record a decline in one category of hate crimes — gender identity — from four reports in 2017 to two in 2018.

Reported hate crimes involving religion remained at eight in both 2017 and 2018.

The FBI statistics do not include an analysis of why hate crimes increased or decreased.

It’s unclear whether improved reporting by local law enforcement may have contributed to the rise. The San Francisco Police Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Advocates nationwide have raised concerns about the tracking of hate crimes.

Muslim Advocates, a civil rights organization, released a statement Tuesday arguing that the FBI numbers do not capture certain incidents that should be considered hate crimes.

“Yet again, the FBI’s annual statistics on hate crimes show us that a worrying number of Muslims, Jews, Sikhs, Latinos and other groups are being victimized by hate crimes,” the statement said. “Yet, this data paints an incomplete picture of the epidemic of hate that continues to threaten the safety of far too many Americans because it fails to include many known hate crimes from last year.”

In the Bay Area, a group called United Against Hate that formed in 2017 following right-wing protests in Oakland and Berkeley also issued a statement expressing “serious concerns” about a gap in hate crime reporting.

“As hate crimes remain at alarmingly high-levels in California and across America, cities cannot allocate appropriate resources to address tensions and violence in our communities if we’re failing to identify and track these horrific occurrences,” the group said. “We need accurate data, and that requires a commitment to adequately training law enforcement personnel and a mandate that all agencies report.”

mbarba@sfexaminer.com

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