The FBI says hate crimes reports were up about 17 percent in 2017, marking a rise for the third year in a row.
According to the FBI's annual Hate Crime Statistics report, there were a total of 7,175 hate crime incidents reported a year ago by law enforcement agencies, up from 6,121 incidents in 2016.
Religion was the second biggest motivator of hate crimes, with 1,679 incidents reported by law enforcement agencies.
But it did note that more law enforcement jurisdictions were reporting hate crimes than previous years.
Another 15.8 percent were targeted over their sexual orientation. Anti-Arab hate crimes, though accounting for a fraction of all race-based hate crimes, doubled to 102 incidents.
Around 3,000 were targeted at property, which includes vandalism or burglary.
There were 1,130 reported incidents targeting people due to their sexual orientation, including 679 anti-gay hate crimes, a small increase compared to 2016.
The number of anti-Muslim hate crimes fell to 273 incidents from 314 incidents in 2016 but the level remained well above historic averages.In 2015 and 2016, anti-Muslim hate crimes increased by almost 90 percent, fueled by a backlash to terrorist attacks in Europe and the United States and anti-Muslim political rhetoric.
African-Americans were the leading target of crimes based on race, and Jews were the most-targeted group by religion, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The new report comes a month after 11 Jews were killed by a gunman that burst into their synagogue in Pittsburgh as they prayed, marking the deadliest attack against Jews in USA history. A rise in hate crimes against Jews and a bomb threat at the Stroum Jewish Community Center a year ago prompted Mercer Island resident Joseph Schocken to push to expand the federal hate-crimes laws to include threats and the defacing of religious institutions. The U.S. Senate passed the measure two months ago.
"This report provides further evidence that more must be done to address the divisive climate of hate in America", Jonathan Greenblatt, the Anti-Defamation League's national director, said in a statement.
"I am particularly troubled by the increase in anti-Semitic hate crimes, which were already the most common religious hate crimes in the United States, that is well documented in this report", Whitaker said in a statement."The American people can be assured that this Department has already taken significant and aggressive actions against these crimes and that we will vigorously and effectively defend their rights".
Since Congress enacted the Hate Crimes Statistics Act in 1990, the USA attorney general has collected data "about crimes that manifest evidence of prejudice based on race, religion, sexual orientation, or ethnicity".
Throughout 2018, a spate of apparent hate crimes has gripped the country, among them the deadly assault on the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, last month.