The study, conducted by University of North Texas professors Regina Branton and Valerie Martinez-Ebers as well as Ayal Feinberg, examined the correlation between counties that hosted a Trump campaign rally in 2016 and the number of hate crimes that were reported afterwards, looking at data from the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) Hate, Extremism, Anti-Semitism Terrorism (HEAT) map. Reported hate crimes in these counties saw a 226 percent increase compared to those that didn’t host a rally.
While the authors of the study “cannot be certain” Trump’s rhetoric caused such an increase, the results strongly indicate a correlational relationship. They also said that it’s hard to discount the effect Trump had on these crimes when a number of them, including instances of vandalism, intimidation, and assault, referenced him. Research from another study found that reading or hearing statements Trump has made against particular groups of people make people more likely to write offensive things about said groups.
The authors also debunked possible claims that these newer reports of hate crimes were faked.
“This charge is frequently used as a political tool to dismiss concerns about hate crimes,” the analysis of the study says. “Research shows it is far more likely that hate crime statistics are considerably lower because of underreporting.”
Data from the FBI shows that reported hate crimes increased 17 percent from 2016 to 2017. According to the ADL, there were 3,787 incidents of extremism or anti-Semitism in the U.S. in 2017 and 2018.