In a video message Friday, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch responded to a spike in hate crimes that the federal government found in 2015, saying the increase should be "deeply sobering" to Americans.
The FBI reported a six-percent increase in hate crimes nationally in 2015, with anti-Muslim crimes increasing by a staggering 67 percent, Lynch said on the video.
"These numbers should be deeply sobering for all Americans," Lynch said.
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She also mentioned of recent news of a spate of reported hate crimes in the U.S., and encouraged Americans to report the incidents to the police, saying it is the "right and just thing to do."
"Some of these incidents have happened in schools. Others have targeted houses of worship," Lynch said on the video. "And some have singled out individuals for attacks and intimidation."
She continued, "We need you to continue to report these incidents to local law enforcement, as well as the Justice Department, so that our career investigators and prosecutors can take action to defend your rights."
Lynch acknowledged that people were concerned about the more recent incidents, which the government does not yet have statistics on, but she noted enforcing hate crime laws is "about staying true to our highest ideals and most cherished principles" of equal protection under the law.
"I want the American people to know that as long as that work is necessary, the Department of Justice will continue to carry it forward," Lynch said.