The shooting at Jewish centers in Overland Park, Kansas, is tragic, but it is only one of hundreds of attacks against Jewish persons and institutions each year in the United States. Anti-Jewish hate crimes are the most common religious hate crime in the United States.

Religious hate crimes in the United States from 1996 through 2012

Religious hate crimes in the United States from 1996 through 2012 Graph by Corner of Church & State, an RNS blog. Source: Federal Bureau of Investigation Uniform Crime Reports


This image is available for Web publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) statistics, seven-out-of-ten religious hate crimes target Jews. Since the FBI began collecting hate crime statistics in 1996, there have been nearly 25,000 crimes reported whose victims were selected because of their religion; 17,000 of these crimes targeted Jewish persons or institutions.  Even in 2001, when there was a spike in anti-Islamic crime, anti-Jewish hate crimes have been the most common religious hate crime each year.

Since 2008, the number of anti-Jewish hate crimes has dropped from a consistent number of over one thousand per year to a record low of 696 in 2012 (the last year reported).

Share of religious personal and property hate crimes aimed at each religious group in 2012.

Share of religious personal and property hate crimes aimed at each religious group in 2012. Graph by Corner of Church & State, an RNS blog. Source: Federal Bureau of Investigation Uniform Crime Reports


This image is available for Web publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

In 2012, nearly two-thirds of religious hate crimes against property (e.g., burglary or vandalism) had Jewish persons as victims.  This is five to six times greater than property crimes against other religious groups. During that same year, Just over one half of religious hate crimes against persons (e.g., assault or homicide). The reason for this smaller proportion is the greater share of crime committed against muslims.

A closer look at hate crimes data shows that muslims and sikhs (who are often assumed to be muslim because of their turbans) are the most common victim of homicide or manslaughter.

Types of anti-Jewish hate crimes in the United States in 2002

Types of anti-Jewish hate crimes in the United States in 2002 Graph by Corner of Church & State, an RNS blog. Source: Federal Bureau of Investigation Uniform Crime Reports


This image is available for Web publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

Most of the hate crimes targeting Jews is vandalism, such as Nazi-inspired graffiti or destruction of cemetery headstones. They are also victims of burglary, arson, and other property crimes. Jewish persons are also targets of intimidation, assault, and other violent crime. The shooting in Kansas is but one of hundreds that will target Jewish persons this year.

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Tobin Grant

Tobin Grant

@TobinGrant blogs for Religion News Service at Corner of Church and State, a data-driven conversation on religion and politics. He is a political science professor at Southern Illinois University and associate editor of the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion.

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