FBI Hate Crime Report: What We Know

new FBI report On hate crimes this week there was disturbing news: The number of such crimes reported in the United States rose between 2020 and 2021, reaching the highest level since the government began tracking crimes in the early 1990s.

Hate crime tracking known to be difficult, and FBI data remains patchy — a result of underreporting by state and local agencies. Criminologists disagree about whether the data is sufficient to draw conclusions about the prevalence of hate crimes in the United States. But many said the bureau’s report, along with other data sources, is enough to show that hate crimes in general have, in fact, been on the rise in recent years.

“Is the FBI catching the exact volume? Of course not.” But they do get information from highly trusted reporting agencies and can sense alarming trends.

The report is called Stop the Asian hate movement Entering its third year reports Displays Transgender people are four times more likely than cisgender people to be victims of violent crime, drag shows are reported to be increasingly targeted Protest and violence and after the US Department of Homeland Security White supremacists identified as the most persistent and deadly threat in America.

The new numbers released this week are based on an incomplete annual report on hate crimes released by the FBI in December. This preliminary data appears to show a decrease in hate crimes, but it is missing information from some of the country’s largest cities, including New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, and data from most of Florida and California, after The FBI switched to a new reporting system. The supplemental report includes information from 3,025 additional agencies, according to the FBI.

Represents the 10,840 bias incidents reported in 2021 An increase of 31 percent from 8,263 offenses in 2020 and a third consecutive annual increase. Nearly 65 percent of them were motivated by prejudice over race or ethnicity, nearly 16 percent were the result of sexual orientation bias, and more than 14 percent were caused by religious bias. Intimidation and assault accounted for most of the crimes, while 19 rapes and 18 murders were reported as hate crimes. The rest of the crimes were classified as property damage or vandalism.

Experts say the data has serious holes: “The FBI’s hate crime data is grossly flawed and not an adequate source for national hate crime statistics or for comparing numbers from year to year,” Jacob Kaplan, a researcher at Princeton School of Public and International Affairs, told Vox.

The FBI’s data collection is limited for several reasons, the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences writes. January 2022 Newsletter: For a crime to be considered a hate crime, there must be evidence that it was motivated by bias – which can be difficult to prove. The crime must also be reported to the police in the first place, which studies The show never happens enough. Victims may not even know they have experienced a hate crime. For example, if a racist person punches the first black person they see without using a racist epithet or wearing a racist symbol, how can investigators prove that the perpetrator was motivated by anti-black hatred? And when agencies do report data, their reporting is inconsistent over time, or they may report unreliable data, according to Kaplan.

So the FBI report is only one piece of an incomplete puzzle – it could be clearer with more and better information. Experts call on Congress to make hate crime reporting mandatory.

“Data drives politics,” said Stephen M. Freeman, the Anti-Defamation League’s vice president for civil rights and director of legal affairs. “And when the data is incomplete, it sends the wrong message to victims and perpetrators.”

Better data (and mandatory data that is not collected punitively) can send the message that hate crimes are taken seriously, and can make it more likely that members of marginalized groups will come forward to report crimes committed against them.

Even in the face of incomplete data, the data is “terrifying”

The federal government’s hate crime law prohibits crimes motivated by race, color, national origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or disability. The acts criminalized under the law are usually violent, such as assault, which means that other hate crimes, such as using a racial slur, are not illegal. Most countries It does have hate crime laws, but those laws vary, resulting in unequal protection from hate crimes in different jurisdictions. Most countries that record hate crimes do not require data collection.

While the FBI is required to release an annual hate crime report, the bureau relies on voluntary reporting from state and local agencies. So, for example, the 2020 report did not include statistics from about 3,500 agencies that failed to provide data, including 10 cities with populations over 100,000, according to Southern Poverty Law Center. For that year’s report, 59 other police departments in cities of more than 100,000 reported that there were no hate crimes, according to analysis by the Anti-Defamation League.

“Only 20 percent of agencies reported one or more hate crimes, and it’s hard to give credit to agencies when they report that there aren’t many hate crimes in their areas,” Freeman said of the 2021 report. “While one hate crime is too many, it is difficult to address the spikes if we do not have a complete picture. However, there are trends that give us a snapshot and tell us that the problem is on the rise.”

FBI Supplementary Report 2021 It showed that black victims were the most targeted, with 3,277 incidents, up from 2,871 in 2020. Crimes against whites followed suit, with 1,107 in 2021, up from 869 in 2020. Gay men were the victims in 948 incidents, compared to 673 in 2020. And the Jewish people targeted 817 cases, up from 683 cases in 2020.

The group saw 746 attacks on Asians, a group record for one year, up from 249 the previous year, a sharp rise.

These numbers identify some trends when set against three decades of data—and new ones Reports from groups including Stop AAPI Hate. For one, new records have been set. This year was the worst for anti-Latino offenses and anti-Asian offenses and more than double the previous year for Asian victims. It was the second-worst year on record for black victims, and it had the highest number of crimes against transgender and Sikh victims since it began recording that data in 2015.

After that, the waves of violence will last much longer. According to Levin, the data has historically shown that a cycle of violence occurs when a “fanatic spotlight” is focused on a particular group. But cycles of violence, usually triggered by a triggering event, now stay longer and, in some cases, drive totals as well.

For example, anti-Muslim hate crimes rose after 9/11 as a result of Islamophobia rhetoric, but the sudden rise in anti-Muslim crimes decreased in the months following October 2001. June 2020, the peak of the Black Lives Matter protests, was the worst month on record for black Americans , but hate crimes continued at a high rate through November 2020, Levine said, with similar trends in crimes against Asia in 2021.

One explanation for this trend, Levine said, is that politicians, social media influencers, and pundits maintain stereotypes for longer. “Hate crimes in this decade behave differently because they are affected by a very hostile social, political and cultural environment,” Levine said.

Ultimately, the FBI’s 2021 data is one piece of a jigsaw puzzle that, when combined with historical data, social science data, and other data, shows that the state had an inflection point in 2019 and 2020, with consecutive years of increases, Levine said. .

Levine’s team has already collected data for 2022 from nearly thirty large cities and found that hate crimes are up in 32 major cities, and crimes against people who don’t conform to race and gender have seen the largest increases. There was a decrease in crimes against black and Asian people in 2022, but because these crimes increased rapidly in previous years, the number of crimes is still significant.

In a bipartisan move and in response to the upsurge in anti-Asian violence, the House of Representatives Passed The Covid-19 Hate Crimes Act to enhance hate crime tracking by providing grants to regional law enforcement agencies to set up reporting hotlines and train police officers to respond to hate crimes, among other efforts.

Many celebrated the law but like Vox’s Li Zhou mentioned, will not prevent hate crimes against Asians because it mostly deals with what happens after the crime has already occurred. Hence, others point to the need for education, mental health assistance, and other social services to counteract prejudice.

“Whichever way you slice the data, it’s terrifying,” Levine said. “The people behind these numbers, we are in a perfect storm of targeted and distracted violence.”

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