The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) found in its annual census of hate groups and extremist organizations that the number of hate groups in the country increased from 892 in 2015 to 917 in 2016.
Hate crimes rose for the second straight year in 2016, with increases in attacks motivated by bias against Blacks, Jews, Muslims and LGBT people, according to Federal Bureau of Investigation statistics released Monday.
A report from the federal agency indicated that this number represents an increase of 4.6 percent, compared to 2015, when 5,850 crimes motivated by prejudices related to race, religion, sexuality, national origin or disability were reported, among others.
There were more than 6,100 hate crimes reported in 2016, according to the FBI's data.
Another 21.0 percent were for religion, and 17.7 percent sexual orientation. The victim totals could include individuals, businesses, government entities or society as a whole.
"There's a risky disconnect between the rising problem of hate crimes and the lack of credible data being reported", said Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan A. Greenblatt, who called for an "all-hands-on-deck approach" to address underreporting. The remaining agencies reported no hate crimes occurred within their jurisdictions.
More than half of those against people were assault cases, while almost 45 percent were crimes of intimidation. Crimes motivated by anti-Hispanic bias increased from 299 to 344 incidents during that time, anti-Native American bias increased from 131 to 154 incidents, and anti-Arab bias increased from 37 to 51.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the Justice Department is now engaging with state and local leaders and to find ways to better prevent and prosecute hate crimes.
There were also 105 incidents against transgender people, a 44 percent increase compared to 2015. More than half of the religious-related crimes, the statistics show, were anti-Jewish, while a quarter were anti-Muslim. Civil-rights groups, however, say the figures are deeply flawed because of what they say is systemic under-reporting. Crimes motivated by bias against Protestants and Eastern Orthodox Christians both declined.
The only way to fix the data problem, he added, is for law enforcement to adopt mandatory hate crime reporting. Crimes motivated by gender identity-bias accounted for 124 incidents.