Kentucky among worst states for spike in hate crimes

Media playback is unsupported on your device                  Media caption The BBC spoke to a Muslim American couple targeted by an abusive caller

Hate crimes surged 17 percent in the United States in Donald Trump's first year as president, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said in a new report Tuesday.

According to the report, the most common bias categories in single-bias incidents were related to race/ethnicity/ancestry (59.6) percent, religion (20.6 percent) and sexual orientation (15.8 percent).

A 5 percent rise in crimes directed against LGBT individuals, rising from 1,076 crimes in 2016 to 1,130 in 2017.

Anti-black bias motivated roughly half of all race-based hate crimes, followed by 17 percent of incidents that were motivated by anti-white bias and 11 percent that were motivated by anti-Latino bias.

The number of anti-Muslim hate crimes fell to 273 incidents from 314 incidents in 2016 but the level remained well above historic averages.In 2015 and 2016, anti-Muslim hate crimes increased by almost 90 percent, fueled by a backlash to terrorist attacks in Europe and the United States and anti-Muslim political rhetoric.

Since Congress enacted the Hate Crimes Statistics Act in 1990, the US attorney general has collected data "about crimes that manifest evidence of prejudice based on race, religion, sexual orientation, or ethnicity".

North Carolina's population rose by 1.2 percent between 2016 and 2017.

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Law enforcement agencies reported 7,175 hate crimes a year ago compared with 6,121 in 2016.

The FBI noted that although the amount of reported attacks has increased, so has the number of law enforcement agencies reporting hate-crime data. The uptick in the percentage is due in part to more of them beginning to report such acts, which can include both violence against a person and property damage. "I am particularly troubled by the increase in anti-Semitic hate crimes", he said.

Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO And National Director of the Anti-Defamation League testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, May 2, 2017, before a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on responses to the increase in religious hate crimes. Of those, the Jewish population was the most targeted, with 1,017 people falling victim in 938 incidents.

Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker said the numbers are a "call to action" and that the offenses were 'despicable violations of our core values as Americans'.

The FBI does not estimate data for jurisdictions that do not report their data.

"That begins with leaders from all walks of life and from all sectors of society forcefully condemning anti-Semitism, bigotry, and hate whenever it occurs".

The vast majority of hate crimes are prosecuted in state courts, with federal prosecutors typically charging between one and two dozen defendants for hate crimes under various federal hate crime statutes.In 2018, the Justice Department filed 22 hate crime cases, according to a spokeswoman.

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