Sep 7, 2023 - News

Colorado sees jump in hate crimes in 2022, new report finds

Illustration of crime tape forming an upward arrow.

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

Hate crimes in Colorado reached record levels in 2022, a new report finds, with the spike exceeding nationwide increases.

State of play: The state's two largest cities helped drive the upward trend with a 14% increase in Denver and 31% jump in Colorado Springs from the prior year.

  • The trends appear in an unpublished study shared with Axios from the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino. It counted violence stemming from victims' race, color, sexuality, religion or national origin.

Of note: The period examined includes the attack at Club Q, an LGBTQ business in Colorado Springs, where five people were killed by a gunman.

  • Both Colorado Springs and Denver saw significant increases in bias-motivated crimes against LGBTQ people, the data shows.

The big picture: The increases reflect a 22-year trend of rising hate crimes nationwide, amid a rise in white nationalism and soaring numbers of attacks on Asian Americans during the pandemic.

  • Hate crimes reported to police in major U.S. cities rose 10%, the report found.
  • 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.

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.

Between the lines: The statistics — compiled from police data, state reports and open records requests — go beyond what the FBI reports in many locations. The FBI found hate crimes in 2021 topped prior records in Colorado.

What to watch: Early data suggest that hate crimes declined in major cities in the first part of 2023, but Denver is experiencing an increase.

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