The FBI compiles detailed stats on US hate crimes, based on data submitted by thousands of law enforcement agencies covering most of the US population. News outlets and politicians often cite the FBI data as proof that hate crimes are increasing in the age of Trump. For instance, this from Roll Call:
“The number of incidents involving hate crimes increased for a third straight year in 2017. According to FBI data released in November, hate crime incidents rose by 17 percent in 2017 compared to 2016. From 2015 to 2016, the FBI reported a 5 percent increase.” House to probe rise in hate crimes since Trump was elected: Looking into rising hate crimes is a priority for House Judiciary Chairman Nadler by Griffin Connolly; April 4, 2019
Now here’s some context:
Per the above, there were 1325 more hate crime incidents reported in 2017 than in 2015. At the same time, a lot more agencies submitted hate crime reports in 2017 than in 2015, covering an additional 22.5 million people. As a portion of the population covered, the 2017 increase in overall hate crimes was rather modest and may not have been statistically significant. However, there was a major rise in anti-Jewish hate crimes during this period.
Another consideration is whether law enforcement agencies are identifying and reporting more hate crimes due to rising awareness and cultural change. However, that doesn’t explain why so many hate crimes were reported in 2005, relative to the population covered. That seems to have been a particularly bad year, especially for African Americans.
These numbers aren’t showing a definite trend in hate crimes. Maybe the picture will be clearer when the 2018 data become available.