Oct 25, 2021 - Politics & Policy

FBI says it undercounted hate crimes in 2020

Photo of an unidentifiable person speaking from a podium that has the FBI seal
Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The number of hate crimes reported in the 2020 fiscal year soared to the highest recorded in nearly two decades, according to updated FBI data released Monday.

Context: The FBI said a technical submission error had excluded some data from Ohio in the agency's previous count, which was published in August. The error has since been addressed, with the updated data including over 500 previously excluded hate crime incidents.

By the numbers: Hate crimes reported to the FBI jumped 13% from 2019 to 2020 — from 7,287 incidents to 8,263.

  • Almost 62% were linked to bias against a person's race, ethnicity or ancestry, according to the updated data.
    • Anti-Asian hate crimes increased by 76% from 2019, a bump from the previously reported 73%.
  • Twenty percent of the reported hate crimes were linked to bias against a person's sexual orientation. About 13% were because of bias against the victim's religion.
  • Over half all offenders were white.

The big picture: The 2020 fiscal year saw the highest number of hate crimes recorded since 2001, when the 9/11 attacks spurred a rapid rise in Islamophobic incidents.

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