New study shows hate crimes on the rise in Washington

click to enlarge Seattle had one of the top five sharpest increases in hate crimes in the country. - KERRY PARK PHOTO/WIKIMEDIA
Kerry Park photo/Wikimedia
Seattle had one of the top five sharpest increases in hate crimes in the country.

A study analyzing FBI data from 2013-2017 found that hate crimes have risen in Washington by 78 percent.

That would rank Washington as the ninth largest rise in hate crimes during that period, according to the study released earlier this week by safehome.org. For comparison, the study found that reported hate crimes rose in that period by 22 percent nationally with a total of 8,500 cases in 2017.

The data, it should be noted, isn't entirely complete. Hate crimes are typically underreported to police. And even when they are reported, those jurisdictions often do not report the numbers to the FBI. The study estimates that nearly 20 million Americans live in jurisdictions that did not report their hate crime stats to the FBI for the most recent year.

Nearly 60 percent of hate crime offenses were motivated by race, with black people targeted the most. Twenty-one percent were motivated by religion, a majority of those targeting Jews. And 16 percent targeted victims by sexual orientation.

More than half of the known offenders were white, according to the study.

Seattle, meanwhile, had one of the top five sharpest increases in reported hate crimes in the country, seeing a 163 percent increase since 2013.

"Despite the shortcomings in federal data on hate crimes and related incidents, we can clearly see bias-motivated offenses are on the rise," the authors of the study say.

The authors of the study argue that reporting incidents can be crucial to combating the rise in hate crimes.

"Having a better understanding of the scope of this issue could help spur swifter and more effective political action," they say.

Norman Rockwell's America @ Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture

Tuesdays-Sundays. Continues through Jan. 12
  • or

About The Author

Wilson Criscione

Wilson Criscione, born and raised in Spokane, is an Inlander staff writer covering education and social services in the Inland Northwest.