Sep 11, 2023 - News

Houston sees rise in hate crimes

Change in hate crimes among largest U.S. cities, 2021 to 2022
Data: Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism report; Chart: Axios Visuals

Houston's hate crimes surged last year to their highest levels since 2002, according to an unpublished report from the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism.

Why it matters: Nationally, hate crimes spiked in most of the nation's 10 largest cities, setting a record at 1,889 cases nationally.

  • 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.

Zoom in: The center — which collects hate crime stats from police data, state reports and open record requests — found that hate crimes rose 26.5% in Houston from 49 in 2021 to 62 in 2022.

  • The groups most often targeted last year were Blacks and Hispanics, per the report.

Details: The most common type of hate crime offense locally is aggravated assault, with 19 reports in 2021, per the most recent FBI data with Houston Police Department numbers.

What they're saying: Hate crimes have jumped in recent decades partly because of better record keeping but also because of hate spreading quickly on social media, the center's Brian Levin tells Axios.

Meanwhile, some cities like Phoenix, San Diego and San Antonio had significant declines in hate crimes last year.

Of note: Early data suggests that hate crimes declined in major cities in the first part of 2023.

Yes, 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.

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