USA hate crimes rose during fierce 2016 election, Federal Bureau of Investigation stats show

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) _ Hate crimes in Minnesota rose for the second straight year in 2016, with the bulk of crimes motivated by the victim's race or ethnicity.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, a non-profit which tracks hate groups, attributed the bump to the 2016 presidential election, in which Donald Trump assailed Muslims and Hispanics as extremists and illegal immigrants.

Of those crimes previous year, 25 were motivated by race, two by religion, and 12 by sexual orientation.

The FBI did not give a reason for a rise in reported hate crimes.

The incidents were reported by almost 16,000 law enforcement agencies and affected a total of 7,615 victims.

While the data provides a way to compare annual hate crime statistics, the number of actual hate crime incidents is believed to drastically under reported, according to advocacy groups.

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In releasing the figures, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said hate crimes remain the "number one investigative priority" of its civil rights unit and pledged to continue collecting data on the problem.

A report released Monday says there were more than 6,100 hate crimes past year. But the number of anti-black crimes remained about even with the number reported in 2015.

In California, the numbers also rose along with the rest of the nation: From 837 hate crimes in 2015 to 931 in 2016.

There were seven anti-Sikh incidents, up from six; 10 anti-Hindu hate crimes, up from five, and 105 anti-transgender hate crimes, up from 73.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions also doubled down on the importance of addressing hate crimes. But incidents motivated by anti-Muslim bias saw the greatest increase out of religion-motivated crimes.

Of the 7,615 overall victims, 4,720 were victims of crimes against persons (both adults and juveniles), 2,813 were victims of crimes against property, and 82 were victims of hate crimes categorized as crimes against society (e.g., weapons violations, drug offenses, gambling). No reported crimes were motivated by a disability, gender or gender identity.

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