Hate crimes jumped nearly 12% in 2021, new FBI figures show

Hate crimes in the U.S. increased by 11.6% in 2021 from the previous year, according to revised figures the FBI released Monday.

The statistics showed that 12,411 people were reported to have been victims of hate crimes in 2021, 64.5% of them targeted because of their race or ethnicity, 15.9% targeted for their sexual orientation and 14.1% for their religion. The reports were up from 8,120 in 2020 to 9,065 in 2021 — some crimes had multiple victims.

In 2020, reports of hate crimes increased by less than 3% from the previous year.

The FBI released initial 2021 data in December that indicated a slight decrease in the number of hate crimes. Officials said that report was flawed because of low participation rates by law enforcement agencies across the country that were not using a new reporting system known as the National Incident-Based Reporting System.

The initial figures also did not include data from New York, Los Angeles and Chicago — the country’s three biggest cities by population.

Analysts then went back and had more than 3,000 agencies that had not originally submitted statistics hand in data so the FBI could have a fuller picture of hate crimes.

The figures released Monday include numbers from New York and Los Angeles. Chicago submitted data for part of the year, a senior FBI official told reporters in a background briefing.

The official said the top five hate crimes in 2021 were motivated by feelings against African Americans, whites, gay men, Jews and Asian Americans. The incidents were as varied as intimidation and assault to rape and murder.

The same official said 14,859 law enforcement agencies across the country are now enrolled in the National Incident-Based Reporting System, representing 79% of police agencies covering 91% of the U.S. population.

Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta, the No. 3 official at the Justice Department, said” “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.

“Preventing, investigating and prosecuting hate crimes are top priorities for the Justice Department, and reporting is key to each of those priorities,” Gupta said in a statement.