Hate crimes hit 12-year high in United States in 2020

Race in America

People hold signs during the “We Are Not Silent” rally against anti-Asian hate in response to recent anti-Asian crime in the Chinatown-International District of Seattle, Washington on March 13, 2021. – Reports of attacks, primarily against Asian-American elders, have spiked in recent months — fuelled, activists believe, by talk of the “Chinese virus” by former president Donald Trump and others. (Photo by Jason Redmond / AFP) (Photo by JASON REDMOND/AFP via Getty Images)

NEW YORK (Reuters) — The number of hate crimes in the United States rose last year to the highest level in more than a decade, driven by a rise in assaults targeting Black victims and victims of Asian descent, the FBI reported on Monday.

The 2020 data, submitted to the FBI by more than 15,000 law enforcement agencies across the country, identified 7,759 hate-crimes in 2020, a 6% increase over 2019 and the highest tally since 2008.

The FBI data showed the number of offenses targeting Blacks rose to 2,755 from 1,930 and incidents against Asians jumped to 274 from 158.

The Justice Department has warned that white supremacist groups represent a rising security threat after the deadly Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol.

At the same time, reports of hate-inspired attacks on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have also been on the rise, spurred by what many say were former President Donald Trump’s inflammatory remarks blaming the COVID-19 pandemic on China.

In May, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland outlined new steps to help state and local police track and investigate hate crimes, which historically have been an under-reported crime to the FBI by local law enforcement, and called for the department to expedite the review of possible hate crimes.

Reporting by Jan Wolfe; Editing by David Gregorio

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2021. 

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