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SALT LAKE CITY — A new federal report released this week shows a spike in hate crimes in Utah from 2015 to 2016, though hate crimes remained relatively low in the state.
Adjusting for population changes, it’s a rise of about 1.5 cases per 100,000 people to nearly 2.2 cases per 100,000 residents. A total of 75 incidents were reported in 2013 and 50 in 2014.
A hate crime is defined by the bureau is any crime motivated in any way by race, gender, gender identity, disability, sexual orientation or ethnicity.
The bureau notes, however, that “because motivation is subjective, it is sometimes difficult to know with certainty whether a crime resulted from the offender’s bias.” Thus, the numbers may be skewed because not all cases that could be classified as a hate crime by another police agency are forwarded to the FBI.
Of the 66 reported incidents in Utah, 47 were filed as race, ethnicity or ancestry-related crimes. Those were scattered across various locations across the state. Nine more were related to sexual orientation, eight were religion-related and two more cases were disability-related, according to the department.
The most cases were reported in Ogden with eight incidents, though Utah Highway Patrol led all agencies with 10 reports.
In all, 6,121 incidents were reported in the U.S., which is a jump up from 5,850 the previous year. Nearly 58 percent of all cases handled in 2016 were related to race, ethnicity or ancestry-related, according to the bureau. Twenty-one cases were related to religion and nearly 18 percent were related to sexual orientation.
The most common of the cases in the U.S., according to the bureau’s statistics, came from reports near residences or homes. About 27 percent of cases occurred near homes in 2016, whereas 18 percent came around streets and roadways and nearly 10 percent happened on school campuses.
Most cases reported involved either assault or intimidation. Five murders or nonnegligent manslaughter cases were linked to hate crimes in 2016 in the U.S.
California, with a population of a little more than 39 million people, led the nation with 931 incidents. New York was second with 595 incidents, followed by Ohio with 442. The report is released by the bureau every November.