Nearly a month after the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, a newly released study shows the steady increase in the number of reported hate crimes in the nation's largest cities.
The study, authored by Professor Brian Levin, indicates that the hate crime data to date comes in wake of a divisive election year. And much of data from 2016 coincides with the increased activity and exposure of white supremacist groups
The violence and unrest in the Virginia city was just one of many incidents marked by the rise of President Donald Trump. There were multiple instances of brutal backlash at Trump's rallies prior to the election.
Blavity reported in August that Maumee, Ohio resident James Alex Fields, Jr. was apprehended after ramming a Dodge Challenger into the back of a car that hit members of a crowd of Charlottesville counter-protesters and bystanders at the Unite the Right rally.
The 20-year-old white supremacist was with other various white nationalist groups and Confederate sympathizers protesting the removal of the Confederate General Robert E. Lee statue. Fields killed 32-year-old Heather Heyer and injured 19 others that day in August.
According to the study, data collected from 31 large cities and counties, including the 10 largest cities in the U.S. were tabulated showing that there were 2,101 hate crimes in those cities and counties. That means that there is a nearly 5 percent rise from the 2,003 hate crimes in the same places the year before.
“If these moderate overall increases of 5 percent hold nationally for 2016, this will be the first time since 2004 that the nation has experienced consecutive annual increases in hate crime,” Levin said.
Cities like Chicago rose 20 percent in 2016, New York City had a 24 percent increase, Los Angeles had a 15 percent, and Philadelphia had a 50 percent increase. The city with the largest increase in hate crimes was Washington, D.C., which saw a 62 percent rise. Many of these cities have large black populations.
However, the study is unique because many claim that there is no accurate way to track hate crimes. According to VOX, the FBI reports are not a reliable way to keep record.
“What is so unusual about 2016 ― with the exception of the Midwest ― and particularly among the largest jurisdictions with the best data, was a clear and dramatic spike for the election period that was unlike anything I can recall in my professional career,” Levin said.