The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) recently released its 2022 nationwide crime report composed of data from 14,631 law enforcement agencies across the U.S.

The data shows a decrease in violent crime, but an increase in hate crime incidents. According to the FBI, there were nearly 800 more hate crime incident reports in 2022 than there were in 2021.

Those rooted in race, ethnicity or ancestry remain the most common, URL Media partner Black Voice News reports. And since the start of the Israel-Gaza war, there have been increased reports of antisemitism and Islamophobia.

Those reports are based on data from groups like the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which says there have been 774 complaints of bias-related incidents from Oct. 7 to Oct. 25, and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), citing 312 complaints of antisemitic incidents between Oct. 7 and Oct. 23, URL Media partner Epicenter-NYC reports.

However, as Epicenter-NYC points out, the accuracy of those numbers is unclear due to a lack of disaggregated data for CAIR’s numbers and questions about what the ADL includes in its numbers.

Despite the questions surrounding the data, there has been a clear uptick in coverage of people nationwide being threatened or harmed based on their race, ethnicity, religion or political ideology since the war began.

Hanan Shaheen and her 6-year-old son Wadea Al-Fayoume were stabbed last month during a dispute with their landlord, who allegedly targeted them because they were Muslim, in suburban Chicago. Wadea died at the hospital from his injuries.

A Jewish woman in New York was on the subway when she was punched in the face by a stranger who said she attacked the woman “because she was Jewish.” Also on the subway, a 16-year-old Muslim girl was told by a stranger that she was a “terrorist” after the stranger pulled on her hijab.

Since the war started, the White House has announced new steps to combat antisemitism on college campuses and the first-ever national strategy to combat Islamophobia.

But there are ways that we can work together to keep ourselves and our communities safe.

“Regardless of identities, we all have a place in safety, just like we have a place in social justice and social good,” Kalaya’an Mendoza, the director of mutual protection for Nonviolent Peaceforce, told Epicenter-NYC. “I want to invite folks to think about ways that they can show up for their community and themselves from a place of reimagining safety when it doesn’t come down the barrel of a gun.”

Mendoza said that people who experience this type of violence should understand their survival response and where they fall on the spectrum of ‘fight, flight, freeze, or fawn.’

“Some people are like, ‘I wish I was a fight person,’” he told Epicenter-NYC. “No, no, no. You, your lived experience and your ancestors have brought you to this point to keep yourself alive and safe. And that’s something that needs to be honored.”

Mendoza also added when people understand themselves, they can better respond to the situation around them in a way that keeps themselves and those around them safe — and emphasized that however people achieve that safety is valid.

For me the biggest takeaway from this interview was the importance of seeing ourselves as part of the collective, and moving in a way that honors our shared humanity.

“We are in scary times,” Mendoza told Epicenter-NYC. “I love the Mr. Rogers quote his mother shared in times of distress: ‘Always look for the helpers. There will always be helpers.’”— Alicia Ramirez

Uplift. Respect. Love.

Alicia Ramirez authors URL Media's Friday newsletter and pens our Saturday newsletter, The Intersection. She is also founder of The Riverside Record, a community-first, nonprofit digital newsroom serving people living and working in Riverside County, California.