New FBI report shows increase in hate crimes

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Hate crimes in Wisconsin appeared to decrease for the second straight year in 2016.

There were 6,121 hate crime incidents recorded a year ago, an nearly 5 percent rise from 2015 and a 10 percent increase from 2014, the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Hate Crimes Statistics report said.

Wisconsin reported 34 hate crimes previous year.

The FBI says hate crimes jumped by five percent across the country a year ago, with bias incidents involving race or ethnicity showing the largest increase.

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Of those single-bias offences in 2016, almost 58 per cent were motivated by race, ethnicity or ancestry bias, while 21 per cent were driven by religious bias and about 18 per cent were caused due to bias towards sexual orientation. More than half the 4,200 racially motivated crimes were against black people. More than 15,000 law enforcement agencies provided data for the report. Muslims were targeted in 307 religion-based crimes, up 19 percent from 2015 and double the number in 2014.

The Southern Poverty Law Centre (SPLC), an organization that tracks hate-crime and discrimination, said the rise in hate crimes "coincides with Donald Trump's racist, xenophobic campaign and its immediate aftermath". "The department of justice is committed to ensuring that individuals can live without fear of being a victim of violent crime based on who they are, what they believe, or how they worship", attorney general Jeff Sessions said in a statement.

The SPLC contends that the actual number of hate crimes may be much higher.

The figures are a big drop from 2015, when the state reported 36 hate crimes. In all, nine murders and 24 rapes were reported as hate crimes.