The FBI has released their annual Hate Crime report for 2017, and it shows that hate crime incidents are on the rise around the country, including here in Michigan.

Looking at the numbers, from 2016 to 2017 Michigan saw a 14 percent increase in hate crimes, with the number rising from 399 to 456 incidents. In Michigan, the vast majority of these incidents were motivated by racial or ethnic bias, followed by Religion and Sexual Orientation.

In Battle Creek, however, we saw more anti-sexual orientation crimes in 2017 than any other, with 3 of the 7 reported incidents being from that group. Also in Battle Creek, we saw an increase in hate crimes of 133 percent from 2016 to 2017.

To our east, numbers for a small Jackson County community skyrocketed in 2017; Blackman Township, with a population of 37,000, saw an increase in hate crimes of 660 percent, with all 23 crimes being racially or ethnically motivated. That makes them the municipality with the second most hate crimes in the state by pure numbers, only behind Detroit.

The data on the exact motivation of each individual crime was not provided in the report, but they did include a national breakdown. Here are a few of their findings:

  • In crimes based on race or ethnicity, 48.8 percent were motivated by anti-African American bias, 17.5 percent stemmed from anti-white bias, and 10.9 percent from anti Hispanic or Latino bias, with other biases making up the balance.
  • In crimes based on religion, 58.1 percent were anti-Jewish, 18.7 percent were anti-Muslim, and 10.1 percent were anti-Christian, with most of those being anti-Catholic. Other religions made up the rest.
  • In crimes based on sexual orientation, 97.1 percent were motivated by anti-gay, lesbian and bisexual bias, with 58.2 percent being against gay males. Anti-heterosexual crimes made up 2.8 percent.

The FBI puts out their Hate Crime Statistics each year, based on data provided by local law enforcement agencies. To read the full report, click here.