Hate crimes in the U.S. jumped 6% last year compared to 2019, the FBI reported Monday.
The agency’s annual Hate Crime Statistics report released Monday shows hate crimes increases from 7,314 incidents in 2019 to 7,759 in 2020 — the most since 2008’s 7,783.
The number of victims of single-bias crimes increased 23% during the same period, from 8,552 to 10,528. Most of those cases involved victims targeted because of race, ethnicity or ancestry (61.9%), according to the report. Hate crimes targeting Asian Americans rose by nearly 70%, going from 158 to 274; crimes targeting Blacks rose by nearly 40%, going from 1,930 to 2,755; and crimes targeting Whites rose by nearly 16%, going from 666 to 773.
Monday’s report comes after the FBI in June ranked hate crimes and civil-rights violations as a top national threat priority, allowing the agency to funnel more money and resources toward two issues seen as political priorities for President Briden and for Democrats in Congress.
Attorney General Merrick B. Garland said Monday’s report “demonstrates the urgent need for a comprehensive response.”
“These hate crimes and other bias-related incidents instill fear across entire communities and undermine the principles upon which our democracy stands,” Mr. Garland said, adding that the report does not account hate crimes that go unreported.
Mr. Garland, the 68-year-old Biden appointee who took over the Justice Department in March, also said the agency has “rededicated itself to combatting unlawful acts of hate” by improving incident reporting, adding law enforcement training and prioritizing community outreach.
“All of these steps share common objectives: deterring hate crimes and bias-related incidents, addressing them when they occur, supporting those victimized by them and reducing the pernicious effects these incidents have on our society,” he said.
The FBI defines a hate crime as a “criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity.”
In May, President Biden signed the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act which directed the Justice Department to speed up investigations into pandemic-related hate crimes.
The Stop AAPI Hate organization, which reported 6,603 hate incidents between March 2020 to March 2021, said more legislative action is needed to address the “root causes of systemic racism and oppression.”
“Because the Act centers criminal law enforcement agencies in its solutions, it will not address the overwhelming majority of incidents reported to our site which are not hate crimes, but serious hate incidents,” the group said in a statement.