CHICAGO — Using an open records request, the Chicago Tribune has found that there has been an increase in hate crimes in the city in the past decade.
The total number of hate crimes last year was 87 through November, the most recent month with data available. That’s the highest rate in eight years and a rise of at least 10 for all of 2018.
The newspaper did an analysis of the data reported to the Chicago Police Department and found that hate crimes started going up in the second half of the last decade. The city averaged 63 a year from 2012-15 and 75 a year from 2016-19. The offenses ranged from serious physical attacks to vandalism motivated by race, sex, religion or other elements of a victim’s identity.
Since 2012, the top three communities targeted were, from first to third, the LGBTQ community, the black community and the Jewish community. Together, they were the target of more than three quarters of all hate crimes in the past decade.
Kenneth Gunn, first deputy commissioner of the human relations department, told the Tribune the increase in part to better reporting by police and more vigilance among Chicagoans.
“There’s more of an emphasis on it and, I think, just a higher level of awareness,” he said. “We’re not seeing (hate crimes) jumping out of the roof.”
Even with the increase in recent years, the number of hate crimes are still far below the 1980s and 90s. In 1992, there were 288 hate crimes in Chicago.