Mar 13, 2023 - Politics & Policy

New FBI data shows hate crimes jumped in 2021

Federal Bureau of Investigation headquarters building in Washington D.C. Photo: Celal Gunes / Anadolu Agency

A supplemental report from the FBI shows that hate crimes in 2021 increased, instead of dropping as the agency initially reported.

Driving the news: An FBI report in December said hate crimes in the U.S. fell slightly in 2021, but the agency warned the figures were likely off due to a shift to a new reporting system that led some of the country's biggest police departments to not report their numbers.

By the numbers: Reported hate crime incidents increased 11.6% from 8,120 in 2020 to 9,065 in 2021, according to more data collected by the FBI.

  • Around 65% of victims were targeted because of their race, ethnicity, or ancestry, the FBI said.
  • Around 16% of reported incidents were linked to bias against a person's sexual orientation, while approximately 14% were linked to a religious bias.

Catch up quick: The Department of Justice has previously warned that fewer police departments are submitting data, which experts say makes it harder to analyze and address crime trends.

State of play: That FBI report drew criticism from some experts who said they saw a rise in hate crimes and urged law enforcement agencies to commit to better data collecting.

The intrigue: The FBI said Monday the supplemental report on 2021 includes data from the old and new collection systems to give a more accurate picture.

  • The agency said 14,859 agencies covering 91.1% of the population are represented in the amended report compared to the 11,834 agencies representing 64.8% described in the December 2022 report.

What they're saying: "The FBI's supplemental report demonstrates our unwavering commitment to work with our state and local partners to increase reporting and provide a more complete picture of hate crimes nationwide," Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta said in a statement.

  • Gupta said the DOJ is working with state and local law enforcement agencies across the country to improve the reporting of hate crime statistics to the FBI.

What's next: By September, all 94 U.S. Attorneys' Offices are expected to host a United Against Hate program to help improve the reporting of hate crimes.

  • The program aims to teach community members how to identify, report and help prevent hate crimes and provide an opportunity for "trust building" between law enforcement and communities.
  • The FBI said it's also elevating civil rights violations and hate crimes enforcement for prioritization among the agency's 56 field offices.
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