FBI says hate crimes on the rise, second year in a row
Hate crimes are on the rise across the country according to a report released by the FBI, and Michigan is ranked in the top five.
And a Mid-Michigan city ranks number two in the state.
Michigan ranks fourth highest in the number of reported hate crimes behind only California, New York and Ohio.
In 2016, 399 hate crimes were reported with the majority of them being racially motivated.
The report says the increase is likely due to an uptick in civil rights groups reporting harassment and vandalism in the wake of the presidential campaign.
More than 50 percent of the reported hate crimes were against African Americans.
It's important to note that the report is incomplete because it is based on voluntary reporting from police departments.
Dr. Kenneth Litwin, Associate Criminal justice professor at the University of Michigan-Flint says its too early to tell if the political climate has an affect on this rising trend.
"It's difficult to tell because when we look we always want to step back and take a look at the larger trends and we can see that it's been trending down that we've been having a decrease in the number of hate crimes in the past ten years so it's difficult to tell for sure because we have such short term data that when were just looking at one year or two years that we would want to keep an eye on it to see what the trend is over the next couple years.," says Dr. Litwin.
Locally the largest number of hate crimes reported was 32 in Detroit and 16 in Flint.