According to the tally, 6,121 hate crimes were committed in 2016 (compared to 5,850 in 2015) and over half of the crimes were racially motivated. The report notes that 21% of the hate crimes were related to religion, and 17.7% targeted people based on sexual orientation.
As reported by Vox, anti-Muslim hate crimes saw the biggest increase (20%) in 2016. It's the second year in a row that hate crimes against Muslims have spiked. In 2015, they rose by a staggering 67%.
The FBI report also seems to support the argument that the divisive election was at least partially responsible for the rise in hate crimes. On November 29, 2016, The Southern Poverty Law Center released the following statement: "In the ten days following the election, there were almost 900 reports of harassment and intimidation from across the nation. Many harassers invoked Trump’s name during assaults, making it clear that the outbreak of hate stemmed in large part from his electoral success."
As reported by CNN, hate crimes typically decrease during the last three months of the year. In 2016, they increased during this period — specifically in the days immediately before and after the election.
Unfortunately, we're on track to see another increase in the 2017 report. In September, The Huffington Post reported that 827 hate crimes in 13 large cities had been reported in 2017. Compared to 2016 data from the exact same 13 cities, this was an increase of nearly 20%.
The election normalized hateful rhetoric, and it's up to everyone to call out "casual" comments by friends or acquaintances that perpetuate bigotry of any kind. As the FBI reports indicate, it's not a huge leap from hateful rhetoric to committing crimes against marginalized members of society.