Jan 4, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Largest US cities saw record hate crimes surge in 2023

Change in reported hate crimes, 2022 to 2023
Data: Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism; Chart: Axios Visuals

Most of the nation's 10 largest cities saw major surges in hate crimes last year, increases that averaged 11% to a record 2,173 cases, according to a new preliminary report.

The big picture: It was the third straight year of spikes in the big cities' overall average number of hate crimes and came as the Israel-Hamas war sparked jumps in antisemitic and anti-Muslim hate crimes in the last months of 2023.

Driving the news: The U.S. was on course to end 2023 with one of the largest annual drops in homicides on record, but hate crimes continue to rise.

  • Hate crimes are typically defined as violence stemming from victims' race, color, sexuality, religion or national origin.

Details: Houston saw 85 hate crimes in 2023 — a massive 193% increase from the year before, an Axios review of an unpublished draft report by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino, found.

  • That was the largest percentage spike of any of the nation's 10 largest cities last year.
  • San Diego (47%), Chicago (43%) and Los Angeles (13%) also experienced surges and hit modern records dating back to the early 1990s when national hate crimes data collection began, the center said.

Zoom out: The report reflects a 23-year trend of increasing hate crimes nationwide, driven in part by better data collection from police and state agencies.

  • These overall increases in hate crime also extended to major cities outside the ten largest ones, including San Francisco, Washington, Denver, Seattle, Boston and Salt Lake City, among others.

Between the lines: The spike this year came amid a record surge of anti-Jewish cases, according to preliminary data.

  • Anti-Jewish hate crimes, which spiked in the Fall of 2923 following the violent conflict in the Middle East, have supplanted Black Americans as the most targeted group in America's ten largest cities, probably for the first time, the center said.
  • In New York, anti-Jewish hate crimes rose 12.6%, while Los Angeles saw a 48% jump and Chicago experienced a 10% increase.
  • Anti-Muslim hate crimes also jumped 22%, 40% and 300% in the same cities, respectively.

Of note: Anti-Black and anti-gay hate crimes were the second and third most common in America's ten largest cities last year.

What's next: Anti-Jewish hate crime is likely to reach a record when national data is released by the FBI later this year.

  • Anti-Muslim hate crime, which also had significant spikes in the Fall in larger cities, likely will hit its highest level since the middle of last decade.

Go deeper: Report: Hate crimes surged in most big cities in 2022

Editor's note: This story was corrected to reflect that San Diego, not Austin, saw hate crimes increase 47% from 2022 to 2023.

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