Reported hate crimes in the US increased 11.6% in 2021, according to new data from the FBI, though reporting among agencies remains incomplete.
According to the FBI, 12,411 individuals were reportedly victims of hate crimes in 2021 – 64.5% of whom were reportedly targeted because of their race or ethnicity, while 15.9% were targeted for their sexual orientation and 14.1% for their religion. The number of hate crimes reported increased from 8,120 in 2020 to 9,065 in 2021.
“We will not stop here: 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,” Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta said in a Justice Department statement. “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.”
In December, the FBI released annual hate crime statistics for 2021 but said that many law enforcement agencies failed to submit reports on hate crimes to the new National Incident-Based Reporting System.
Some states, however, collect their own data on reported hate crimes, which the FBI was able to pull from in order to create the new, updated 2021 reporting. Not all agencies are submitting hate crime reports to the NIBRS and the complete picture of hate crimes in the US remains unclear, and, according to senior FBI officials, hate crimes largely go unreported.
In 2021, Attorney General Merrick Garland released a memo outlining increased resources that would be used to combat a spike in hate crimes. The Justice Department has announced several efforts to combat hate crimes, including measures aimed at deterring and confronting hate crimes, and says it has charged more than 70 people in over 60 different cases since January 2021. The DOJ opened grant opportunities for states interested in creating state-run hate crime reporting hotlines and the department also hired Ana Paula Noguez Mercado as the first-ever Language Access Coordinator in the Office for Access to Justice.