Hate crimes spiked in 2021, new FBI data shows

  • Hate crimes rose 11.6% between 2020 and 2021
  • 64% of hate crime victims in 2021 targeted because of race
  • Shift in data collection makes it difficult to track trends in hate crimes

FILE – The FBI seal is displayed on a podium before a news conference at the agency’s headquarters on June 14, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)

(NewsNation) — Hate crimes rose 11.6% between 2020 and 2021, according to new data released by the FBI. This data comes after initial reports inaccurately indicated a decline in hate crimes during this time.

The number of reported hate crimes rose from 8,120 in 2020 to 9,065 in 2021, with the largest number of incidents being motivated by bias against Black people.

Incidents involving bias against sexuality and religion followed race, according to the newly compiled data.

The bureau reported 64% of hate crime victims in 2021 were targeted because of race, ethnicity or ancestry bias. 16% were targeted because of bias against sexual orientation, and 14% were targeted based on religious bias.

The 2021 rise in hate crimes against certain groups comes just one year after the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor drew national attention to violence against Black people in the U.S. Asian Americans were also targeted at record rates during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2021, anti-Black biases led to 3,277 reported hate crime incidents and 3,906 victims, the report found.

Anti-Jewish hate crimes were the largest of the religion-based incidents reported, with 817 out of the 1,509 total incidents attributed to religious bias.

The FBI defines a hate crime as “a committed criminal offense which is motivated, in whole or in part, by the offender’s bias(es) against a race/ethnicity/ancestry, religion, sexual orientation, disability, gender or gender identity.”

The supplemental data was collected from 3,025 agencies and combined with the hate crime statistics reported in December of 2021. The initial reports faced some scrutiny for being incomplete, as only 11,883 of 18,812 law enforcement agencies reported data that year.

The gap in data was the result of a shift in collection methods that took place after 2020. The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) program transitioned to using the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) after using the Summary Reporting System (SRS) for several years.

The FBI retroactively accepted data from law enforcement agencies that collected hate crime data under the SRS in 2021, in order to provide a more accurate picture of reported hate crimes in the U.S., according to the report released Monday.

It should be noted that the shift in data collection makes it difficult to track trends in hate crimes reported in 2021 with previous years. The FBI crime database does not yet show hate crime statistics for 2021 in its trend to previous years as many law enforcement agencies have not fully transitioned to the NIBRS.

“The 2021 supplemental release demonstrates the FBI’s commitment to provide meaningful data sets to the American public to reflect a national picture of the hate crime trend,” the FBI press release states.


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