Protest sign against racism.
Hate crimes saw an increase per recently released FBI data from 2021. Photo: Pixabay.

Hate crimes are up in the U.S., per new FBI data

The recently-released FBI data is from 2021.


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The FBI's revised hate crime statistics from 2021 indicate a slight decrease in hate crimes that year, and revealed that 12,411 people were reported as victims of hate crimes in 2021, dividing the cases into different categories:

  • 64.5% were because of race or ethnicity
  • 15.9% were because sexual orientation
  • 14.1% were because of religious denomination 

“For the 2021 data year, the UCR Program accepted Summary Reporting System (SRS) hate crime data submissions and additional National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) hate crime reports from 3,025 agencies that covered a combined population of 87,239,467 to help compile this special report. The supplemental data was combined with that submitted via NIBRS, which has been converted to the SRS format. This supplement allows for a more complete representation of reported hate crimes in the US for 2021. Nationally, reported hate crime incidents increased 11.6% from 8,120 in 2020 to 9,065 in 2021,” highlights the beginning of the report.

Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, the Justice Department's number three official, told NBCNews:

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.

More findings

Of the reported crimes, the total number rose from 8,120 in 2020 to 9,065 crimes in 2021 — some crimes had multiple victims. The percentage increase was 11.6%.

The actual reporting of crimes motivated by hate increased by less than 3% compared to the previous year. The kinds of crimes reported were as varied as intimidation and assault to rape and murder.

A senior FBI official told reporters at a background briefing that the top five hate crimes in 2021 targeted African-Americans, whites, gay men, Jews, and Asian Americans.

He also noted that 14,859 law enforcement agencies across the country are now enrolled in the National Incident-Based Reporting System, representing 79% of law enforcement agencies covering 91% of the U.S. population.

What kinds of crimes?

The FBI also highlighted the following figures concerning the 8,327 hate crimes classified as crimes against people in the updated 2021 data set:

  • 43.2% were bullying
  • 35.5% were simple attacks
  • 20.1% were aggravated assaults
  • 19 rapes and 18 murders were reported as hate crimes
  • The remaining 70 hate crimes classified as crimes against people were reported in the category of other
  • Out of the 3,817 hate crimes classified as crimes against property, 71.2% were acts of destruction/damage/vandalism

A reporting problem

Although the FBI released initial data in December 2022, showing a slight decline in the number of hate crimes, these figures did not include data from New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago.

The FBI acknowledged flaws in the reporting caused by low participation rates from law enforcement agencies across the country that were not using the new NIBRS reporting system.

The figures released Monday include numbers from New York and Los Angeles, but Chicago only presented data representing part of the year, the official added.

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


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