New FBI data show reported hate crimes in the U.S. jumped in 2021

By Jonathan Franklin

The FBI seal is pictured in Omaha, Neb., Aug. 10, 2022. The number of hate crimes in the U.S. jumped again in 2021, continuing an alarming rise, according to FBI data released Monday, March 13, 2023. Most victims were targeted due to race or ethnicity, followed by sexual orientation and religion.

Hate crimes reported in the United States increased nearly 12% in 2021 from the previous year, according to newly updated data from the FBI.

In an updated report released Monday by the FBI, the bureau noted that 12,411 individuals were reportedly victims of hate crimes in the year 2021 — with close to 65% of whom were reportedly targeted because of their race or ethnicity.

The FBI said 15.9% of individuals were targeted for their sexual orientation and 14.1% of individuals were targeted because of their religion. Nationally, the number of hate crimes reported by the agency increased from 8,120 in 2020 to 9,065 in 2021.

“Hate crimes and the devastation they cause communities have no place in this country,” Associate U.S. Attorney General Vanita Gupta said in a statement released Monday by the Department of Justice. “The Justice Department is committed to every tool and resource at our disposal to combat bias-motivated violence in all its forms.”

In December, the FBI released its initial 2021 statistics for hate crimes but said that several law enforcement agencies did not submit reports for hate crimes to the new National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS).

Thousands of law enforcement agencies across the country, including some of the biggest such as New York and Los Angeles, delayed the transition to the new reporting system, which caused the flaw in the initial 2021 data statistics, according to an earlier news release by the Department of Justice.

In 2021, for the first time, the FBI accepted reported hate crime data solely from the new NIBRS system — resulting in significant gaps in reporting.

As more law enforcement agencies transition to the new NIBRS system, the Department of Justice said, it would be able to “provide a richer and more complete picture of hate crimes nationwide.”

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