Updated: 6:08 p.m.
Hate crimes in Minnesota and across the country dipped slightly last year for the first time since 2014, according to numbers released by the FBI Tuesday.
There were 126 hate crime incidents reported in Minnesota in 2018, an almost 15 percent decrease from the year before. More than half of the hate crimes in the state were related to race or ethnicity. Minneapolis, St. Paul and St. Cloud led the state for the number of reported hate crimes.
Nationally, there were more than 7,000 hate crimes reported in 2018. More of the crimes targeted individuals rather than property. Hate crimes had been rising nationally since 2015.
The FBI tracks hate crimes based on race, religion, sexual orientation, disability, gender and gender identity. Anti-black biases accounted for about half of all racially motivated hate crimes. Anti-Jewish bias represented more than half of religious hate crimes.
The annual report is not considered comprehensive and includes only incidents reported by law enforcement agencies.
More than 87 percent of law enforcement agencies either reported zero hate crimes or didn’t submit hate crime data at all. In Minnesota, law enforcement agencies report hate crimes to the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, which then submits them to the FBI.
The Bureau of Justice Statistics estimates that there has been an average of 250,000 hate crimes in the United States each year, with victims not reporting the crime about half the time.
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison has recently held a number of listening sessions on hate crimes around the state.
”What we’ve learned in our conversations is that there are many roadblocks to reporting, investigating and prosecuting hate- and bias-motivated crime,” he said. “Some steps that can help clear those roadblocks are clarifying state law and more dollars and curriculum for training.”