The number of hate crimes reported in California jumped more than 11 percent in 2016, the FBI said Monday.
There were 60 more hate crimes last year than in 2015 in the Bay Area’s nine counties — with the most reported in Alameda, San Francisco and Santa Clara counties. Statewide, the number of hate crimes increased from 837 in 2015 to 931 in 2016, an 11.2 percent rise, the FBI numbers showed.
The FBI statistics are based on reporting from agencies that volunteer their information, said Prentice Danners of the FBI in San Francisco. In California, 733 law enforcement agencies provided numbers for the annual report. The victims included individuals, businesses, government entities and religious organizations.
Most of the crimes were motivated by a victim’s race or religion, but in San Francisco the bulk of victims were targeted because of their sexual orientation. Most of the crimes both statewide and nationally were reported in the fourth quarter of the year, from October to December.
November was the worst month for hate crimes in California, said Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University San Bernardino.
Levin said one of the key factors that drove up the figures both nationally and statewide was the election cycle, in which President Trump proposed banning Muslims from some countries from entering the United States, vowed to build a wall on the Mexican border and labeled some Mexican immigrants as criminals and rapists.
Levin said there were increases in anti-Latino, anti-Arab, anti-Muslim and anti-LGBT crimes.
Most of the crimes occurred in large cities. In San Francisco, hate crimes increased by about 24 percent from 2015 to 2016. Nine crimes targeting a victim’s sexual orientation were committed in 2015 compared with 14 in 2016.
“In San Francisco, the No. 1 target were gays, similar to Seattle and Washington, D.C., but in other cities, it varied,” Levin said.
Alameda County reported 59 hate crimes overall, with the most in San Leandro at 22 — 15 of which were based on a victim’s race or ethnicity — and 17 in Berkeley, nine of which were based on race.
In 2015, San Leandro reported only two hate crimes that were based on race and there were none in Berkeley.
Oakland had nine hate crimes in 2016 — three related to race, three based on sexual orientation and three focusing on religion.
There were 18 hate crimes in Contra Costa County, with the most in Richmond, where four incidents were motivated by a victim’s race or ethnicity.
There were eight hate crimes in Solano County, five in Marin County, one in Napa County, six in Sonoma County and 13 in San Mateo County, according to the FBI.
Hate crimes increased sharply in Santa Clara County, which had 39 incidents last year. In 2015, there were 14.
San Jose had 24 reported hate crimes — 15 racial, seven religious and two based on sexual orientation. In 2015, San Jose reported eight total incidents.
Nationally, the number of hate crimes last year rose by 4.6 percent, to 6,121, the FBI said.
Nearly 59 percent of the crimes targeted a victim based on race. Crimes targeting a victim based on religion made up 21.1 percent of incidents, and 16.7 percent targeted victims based on their sexual orientation.
“This is the second worst year for anti-Muslim hate crimes, only eclipsed by 2001 (when the 9/11 terrorist attacks occurred),” Levin said. “Nationally, we see double the number of anti-Muslim hate crimes since 2014, approximately.”
Zahra Billoo, director of the Council on American Islamic Relations in the San Francisco Bay Area, said the FBI numbers weren’t surprising. If anything, she said, hate crimes are underreported, because agencies are not required to report their totals to the agency.
“This is not the America that we want to build together,” Billoo said. “This data, even though we worry is not the full picture, is still an important picture for everyone to have.”