In 2021, hate crimes in the U.S. rose to the highest level since the federal government began tracking the data more than 30 years ago, according to the FBI’s most recent Supplemental Hate Crimes Statistics report.
The new report released Monday shows a recorded spike in attacks motivated by bias against one’s race, religion and sexual orientation.
States and local jurisdictions reported 10,840 bias-motivated crimes, according to the report. That number is up nearly 25% from 2020. And it’s significantly higher than the previous peak of 9,730 recorded incidents in 2001.
“64.5 percent of victims were targeted because of the offenders’ race/ethnicity/ancestry bias, 15.9 percent were targeted because of the offenders’ sexual-orientation bias, 14.1 percent were targeted because of the offenders’ religious bias, 3.2 percent were targeted because of the offenders’ gender identity bias, 1.4 percent were targeted because of the offenders’ disability bias, and 1.0 percent were targeted because of the offenders’ gender bias,” the report reads.
The report also reflects an all time high since the bureau began collecting data for the number of attacks targeting people of Asian descent in 2021, with a total of 746 recorded anti-Asian attacks that year. That’s up from the 249 attacks recorded in 2020 — the most ever recorded in a single year.
The spike in hate crimes comes as U.S. intelligence officials have been warning of increased domestic threats from white nationalist groups and extremists in the past couple of years. Attorney General Merrick Garland addressed the issue in a recent hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, in which he described white supremacists as the “most dangerous and most lethal” domestic terrorists.
Last year, the Justice Department even announced it was building a new unit focused on domestic terrorism, saying the department has encountered “a growing threat from those who are motivated by racial animus, as well as those who ascribe to extremist anti-government and anti-authority ideologies.”
While Monday’s report highlights the spike in racism-related attacks in recent years, the data is incomplete.
In 2021,14,859 agencies participated in the FBI’s crime data reporting program, according to the report – that represents law enforcement agencies that serve about 91 percent of the U.S. population, according to the Washington Post.
Thousands of the more than 18,000 state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies in the U.S.— most of which have fewer than 50 officers — do not report any data to the FBI, according to the Washington Post.