Report: Hate crimes surged in most big cities in 2022
Most of the nation's 10 largest cities had significant jumps in hate crimes last year, increases that averaged 22% to a record 1,889 cases, according to a new report.
Why it matters: It was the second straight year of increases in the big cities' overall average number of hate crimes — typically defined as violence stemming from victims' race, color, sexuality, religion or national origin.
- The unpublished report by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino, reflects a 22-year trend of increasing hate crimes nationwide, amid a rise in white nationalism and soaring numbers of attacks on Asian Americans during the pandemic.
- Los Angeles, the nation's second-largest city, had the most reported hate crimes — a record 609, with 195 of those classified as anti-Black, 98 as anti-gay (male), 91 as anti-Jewish and 88 anti-Latino.
- Chicago, the third-largest city, had the biggest increase — 84.6%, followed by Austin, Texas, at 58.6%.
There are positive signs for some big cities in the report: Phoenix, San Diego and San Antonio had significant declines in hate crimes last year.
Zoom in: Among smaller cities — those with populations of 500,000 to 1 million — Sacramento, Calif., saw the most significant percentage rise in hate crimes (47.4%), followed by Kansas City, M0. (32.3%).
Zoom out: Black Americans were the most frequently targeted group in many cities, but the study said there were some cities where the LGBTQ+ community, Asian Americans, whites and Jews were the most attacked.
- Attacks on Asian Americans have increased since the beginning of the pandemic, as some people blamed them for the coronavirus pandemic.
State of play: The new report comes days after Attorney General Merrick Garland said the Justice Department will investigate the killing of three Black people in Jacksonville, Fla., as a "hate crime and an act of racially motivated violent extremism."
- President Biden, in a statement, noted that the attack happened near a historically Black university as "our nation marked the 60th anniversary of the March on Washington."
What they're saying: "A lot of people are talking about civil war and all that. That's leading to a climate where hate crimes increase," the center's Brian Levin tells Axios.
- Levin said hate crimes have jumped in recent decades partly because of better record keeping but also because of hate spreading quickly on social media.
Yes, but: Early data suggest that hate crimes declined in major cities in the first part of 2023.
But, but, but: Such crimes tend to pick up at the end of the year around religious holidays — and in the months before presidential elections, Levin warned.
The center collects hate crime stats from police data, state reports and open records requests.
- In recent years, it's collected more data than the FBI, which struggles to get law enforcement agencies from across the country to submit data on hate crimes.
- The FBI is expected to release 2022 data on violent and property crimes next month.