Interracial homicides have reached levels not seen since president Barack Obama first took office, when rates began a period of steady decline, according to the latest statistics from the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Most notably, white-on-black killings spiked by 22.5 percent between 2014 and 2015 after years of mostly trending downward. Killings of whites by African Americans increased by 12.2 percent, while black-on-black and white-on-white killings increased only slightly—by just 7.9 percent and 3.5 percent, respectively—between 2014 and 2015, after mostly falling since 2008. Overall, more than twice as many black-on-white homicides occurred compared with white-on-black homicides.
To be sure, homicides in which the offender and victim were of the same race have vastly outnumbered interracial homicides for the past ten years. FBI data show that while 500 black-on-white killings and 229 white-on-black killings were reported in 2015, 2,574 homicides were committed by whites against other whites, and 2,380 by blacks against blacks.
The new statistics, derived from data submitted to the FBI by more than 16,000 college and university, federal, state, city, county and tribal agencies, describe a year in which a record number of young black men were killed by police officers in the United States, according to a study by The Guardian.
In September, the fatal police shootings of Terence Crutcher in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Keith Lamont Scott in Charlotte, North Carolina, Alfred Olango in San Diego, Tawon Boyd in Baltimore and 13-year-old Tyre King in Columbus, Ohio, drew national scrutiny and, in the case of Charlotte, violent protests.
Some conservative leaders have cited crime statistics to dismiss the Black Lives Matter social justice movement's call for police reform.
“If we have a shooting, we end up assuming that it had to be racial,” former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said in a recent interview with Fox News.
The rate of violent crime in the U.S. increased by 3.1 percent last year compared with that of 2014, the FBI noted in its press release. Rape and aggravated assault increased by 6.3 and 4.6 percent respectively over the same period.
Update: Sept. 30, 4:30 pm ET: The charts with this story have been changed to correct a statistical error.