The U.S. continues with another alarming rise in hate crimes in 2021, according to a report released by the FBI on Monday March 13. The new data is the most comprehensive yet, it marks a 12% rise in hate crimes, which contradicts an earlier report that did not include several of the country’s largest cities.
According to the report’s findings, 64.5% of the victims were targeted due to their ethnicity, race, or heritage. Additionally, 16% were targeted because of their sexual orientation. While 14% were victims of religious bias.
The largest share of cases involved assault and intimidation. However, 18 murder cases were reported as hate crimes in 2021.
In response to the increase in hate crimes in recent years, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has begun to increase the prosecution of these crimes at the federal level. Additionally, DOJ has taken steps to improve the reporting on such incidents.
“Hate crimes and the devastation they cause communities have no place in this country.” Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta said in a statement. She added: “The Justice Department is committed to every tool and resource at our disposal to combat bias-motivated violence in all its forms.”
Which groups are the most targeted?
The FBI report found bias against African Americans overwhelmingly constituted the largest category, accounting for nearly 3,277 incidents in 2021.
Violence against black people in the U.S. has consistently been the most common hate crime since the FBI began tracking hate crimes in 1991.
The FBI data also recorded a rise in anti-Asian hate, with 746 attacks against people of Asian descent recorded in 2021. The number constitutes the largest number of attacks recorded in a single year, up from 249 in the previous year.
Another leading category was hate crimes recorded against white people, as 1,107 incidents were recorded in 2021 which involved an anti-white bias.
Hate crimes targeting gay men have increased to 948 in 2021 up from 673 the previous year according to the FBI report. The number constitutes the largest category of sexual orientation-based crimes.
Anti-Semitism accounted for 50% of the religion-based hate crimes. A total of 817 incidents were recorded in 2021 that involved an anti-Jewish bias, an increase from the 683 cases recorded the previous year.
The second and third largest groups victims of religious-based hate crimes were Sikhs and Muslims, accounting for 185 and 152 incidents in 2021 respectively.
Monday’s report marks the first time the FBI was able to collect and analyze new hate crime trends since they transitioned to a new data collection system. However, the data is still incomplete as thousands of law enforcement agencies, mainly who have less than 50 officers, do not report any data. Those that are included in the report constitute about 91% of the country’s population. The FBI had also previously warned that such crimes are usually underreported.
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