HATE crimes across the United States accelerated in 2016 as the divisive election battle that saw Donald Trump elected president progressed, FBI statistics showed Monday.
Hate crimes — acts motivated by bias toward race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or gender — rose overall for the second straight year to 6,121 incidents, up 4.6 percent from 2015.
They also rose steadily quarter by quarter last year to hit 1,747 in the final three months of 2016.
That quarter covered the period just before and just after Trump won the White House, leaning heavily on the support of white Americans while other groups largely backed his rival Hillary Clinton.
Excluding a handful of “multiple bias” incidents, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said 57.5 percent of all incidents last year were based on hate related to race, ethnicity or ancestry.
Another 21.0 percent were for religion, and 17.7 percent sexual orientation.
Around 62 percent of the crimes were against people while 37 percent were against property.
More than half of those against people were assault cases, while nearly 45 percent were crimes of intimidation.
“No person should have to fear being violently attacked because of who they are, what they believe, of how they worship,” US Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement.
The FBI did not explain the two-year rise.
Trump repeatedly made comments during last year’s campaign seen as disdainful toward blacks, Latinos, women and other groups.
He won the white vote by a 21 percentage point margin over Clinton, while she captured black voters by an 80 point spread and Hispanic voters by 36 points.
Protestants also supported Trump by a large margin and Catholics by a more narrow spread, while other religions were solidly in Clinton’s camp.