Feb 16, 2022 - News

Anti-Asian hate crimes on the rise in D.C.

Anti-Asian hate is fueling the recent uptick in D.C. hate crimes, according to the Metropolitan Police Department. 

The big picture: Hate crimes, specifically against Asian communities, have increased all across the country. But a recent study by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino found that in 2021 D.C. had the highest number of hate crimes reported by police per 1000,000 people.

By the numbers: Though Black Americans remained the most targeted group in most cities, the preliminary report found that anti-Asian American hate crimes increased 339% in 2021.

The national trend holds in D.C.

  • In 2021 there were a total of 91 hate crime incidents involving ethnicity/national origin or race, and 23 of them targeted Asians.
  • Most of last year’s anti-Asian offenses involved simple assault or threats.

Zoom in: MPD Capt. David T. Hong with the Special Liaison Branch says his unit works with marginalized groups who are often wary of police and encourages them to report crimes committed against them.

  • Hong says anti-Asian hate crimes aren’t concentrated in one area of the District because many Asians live in Maryland or Virginia but own businesses in D.C., where local hate crimes often occur.

Yes, but: While MPD data shows an increase in hate crimes from 2020 to 2021, overall hate crimes in the District are down compared to high-incident years from 2017-2019. 

Of note: MPD also encourages people to report hate bias incidents, such as being called a racial slur. These aren’t crimes, but the department tracks them in an effort to get in front of future incidents that could be criminal.


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