In a record no one wanted to see broken, the FBI has reported that the number of hate crimes in the United States has reached its highest point in more than a decade, with the majority of reported attacks targeting Black and Asian Americans.
The finding comes from a newly released report focusing on 2020 and compiled from more than 15,000 different law enforcement agencies. From that data, the FBI identified 7,759 different hate crimes that took place in 2020. That number was 6% higher than the number of hate crimes reported in 2019 and hit a 12-year high since the agency began tracking hate crimes data in 2008.
Jan Wolfe of Reuters reported that “the FBI data showed the number of offenses targeting Blacks rose to 2,755 from 1,930 and incidents against Asians jumped to 274 from 158.”
According to the FBI data, “of the 7,426 hate crime offenses classified as crimes against people, as opposed to crimes against property, 53.4% were for intimidation, 27.6% were for simple assault and 18.1% were for aggravated assault. Twenty-two murders and 19 rapes were reported as hate crimes.”
In a statement on the FBI’s research, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said, “preventing and responding to hate crimes and hate incidents is one of the Justice Department’s highest priorities. The FBI Hate Crime Statistics for 2020 demonstrates the urgent need for a comprehensive response.”
According to Wolfe, the rise in hate crimes in the United States is the result of an increasing prevalence of white supremacist groups, as well as pandemic-driven hate against the AAPI community “spurred by what many say were then-President Donald Trump’s inflammatory remarks blaming the COVID-19 pandemic on China.”
Earlier this year, Garland outlined several new steps his agency was taking to help fight the spike in hate crimes, including improved tracking and reporting of potential attacks.
“A hate crimes bill to combat violence against Asian Americans passed the U.S. Senate in April with overwhelming bipartisan support,” Wolfe said. “The measure designated a Justice Department employee to expedite a review of hate crimes reported to police during the COVID-19 pandemic.”