WASHINGTON, March 13 (Reuters) – Hate crimes in the United States surged 11.6% in 2021 from 2020, with the most frequent ones fueled by racial, ethnic and ancestral bias, the FBI said on Monday.
The FBI in a new report said reported hate crime incidents rose to 9,065 in 2021 from 8,120 in 2020.
The bureau said 64.5% of victims in 2021 were targeted because of their race, ethnicity or ancestry bias while 15.9% were targeted because of sexual-orientation bias and 14.1% were targeted because of religious bias.
Attorney General Merrick Garland has made enforcement against hate crimes a top priority for the Justice Department.
In 2021, he expanded funding and other resources to states and municipalities to help track and investigate hate crimes, and ordered prosecutors to step up both criminal and civil investigations into such incidents.
“We are continuing to work with state and local law enforcement agencies across the country to increase the reporting of hate crime statistics to the FBI,” said Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta, the No. 3 official at the department.
“Hate crimes and the devastation they cause communities have no place in this country. The Justice Department is committed to every tool and resource at our disposal to combat bias-motivated violence in all its forms,” Gupta said.
The release on Monday of the FBI’s new analysis marks the first time the bureau has been able to confidently report on national trends in hate crimes since it transitioned to a new data collection system.
Uniform crime data released by the FBI in October 2022 contained gaps, with only 52% of U.S. law enforcement agencies reporting a full 12 months of 2021 information.
For its supplemental report, FBI officials said they were able to retroactively include crime data from some of the country’s largest cities that had not yet made the switch to the new reporting format.
That meant that some large cities such as Los Angeles and New York City are now included in its hate crime report, which compares trends between 2020 and 2021. Meanwhile, Chicago was able to provide two quarters worth of data for the report.
FBI officials said they typically track the 130 most populous cities across 16 states to identify statistically significant trends. Out of the 130 cities, 96 were able to provide the FBI with crime summary data for the new hate crimes report.
Officials said the top five hate crime categories reported for 2021 were anti-Black, anti-white, anti-gay male, anti-Jewish and anti-Asian.
Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; Editing by Mark Porter
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