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FBI investigates hate crimes, releases statistics

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The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has released statistics on the rate of hate crimes.

The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting program released 2021 statistics about bias-motivated incidents throughout the nation.

The 2021 data, submitted by 11,834 law enforcement agencies, provide information about the offenses, victims, offenders, and locations of hate crimes.

This is the first year the annual hate crimes statistics are reported entirely through the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS).

According to the agency, compared to the previous crime data collection system, NIBRS collects significantly more detailed data for each individual criminal incident.

Law enforcement agencies submitted incident reports involving 7,262 criminal incidents and 8,673 related offenses as being motivated by bias toward race, ethnicity, ancestry, religion, sexual orientation, disability, gender, and gender identity.

Highlights of Hate Crime Statistics, 2021, follow. (Due to rounding, percentage breakdowns may not add up to 100%.)

Victims Of Hate Crime Incidents

According to the statistics, more than 7,000 (7,074) single-bias incidents involved 8,753 victims.

A percent distribution of victims by bias type shows that 64.8% of victims were targeted because of the offenders’ race/ethnicity/ancestry bias, 15.6% were targeted because of the offenders’ sexual-orientation bias, 13.3% were targeted because of the offenders’ religious bias, 3.6% were targeted because of the offenders’ gender identity bias, 1.7% were targeted because of the offenders’ disability bias, and 1.0% were targeted because of the offenders’ gender bias, the statistics shows.

“There were 188 multiple-bias hate crime incidents that involved 271 victims,” the statistics unveils.

Offenses by Crime Category

Of the 5,781 hate crime offenses classified as crimes against persons in 2021, 44.2% were intimidation, 35.9% were simple assault, and 18.3% were aggravated assault. Thirteen (13) rapes and 9 murders were reported as hate crimes. The remaining 69 hate crime offenses classified as crimes against persons were reported in the category of other.

The statistics reveals that out of the 2,606 hate crime offenses classified as crimes against property, most (64.2%) were acts of destruction/damage/vandalism.

“Two hundred eighty-six (286) additional offenses were classified as crimes against society. This crime category represents society’s prohibition against engaging in certain types of activity such as gambling, prostitution, and drug violations. These are typically victimless crimes in which property is not the object.

Known Offenders

In the UCR Program, the term “known offender” indicates that some aspect of the suspect was identified, thus distinguishing the suspect from an unknown offender. It does not necessarily imply that the suspect’s identity is known.

The statistics further discloses that out of the 6,312 known offenders, 56.1% were White, 21.3% were Black or African American, 1.3% were American Indian or Alaska Native, 1.0% were Asian, 0.4% were Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, and 6.3% were multiple races. The race was unknown for 13.5%.

“Of the 4,884 known offenders for whom ethnicity was reported, 55.4% were Not Hispanic or Latino, 7.6% were Hispanic or Latino, and 8.9% were in a group of multiple ethnicities. Ethnicity was unknown for 28.1% of these offenders.

“Of the 5,757 known offenders for whom ages were known, 82.3% were 18 years of age or older,” the data reveals.

Locations of Hate Crimes

Law enforcement agencies may specify the location of an offense within a hate crime incident as 1 of 46 location designations. In 2021, most hate crime incidents (32.2%) occurred in or near residences/homes.

Nearly 17% (16.9) occurred on highways/roads/alleys/streets/sidewalks, 8.1% occurred at schools/colleges, 7.0% happened at parking/drop lots/garages, 2.8% took place in restaurants, and 2.7% occurred at parks/playgrounds.

The location was reported as other/unknown for 4.2% of hate crime incidents. The remaining 26.1% of hate crime incidents took place in the remaining specified location categories or in multiple locations.

Transition to NIBRS

Since 2016, the Department of Justice has worked diligently with law enforcement agencies to assist in their transition to reporting crime data through NIBRS, including allocating over $120 million in grants to support agencies’ transition.

NIBRS is a significant shift and improvement in how reported crime is measured and estimated by the federal government and will greatly improve the nation’s understanding of crime and public safety.

As a result of the shift to NIBRS-only data collection, law enforcement agency participation in submitting all crime statistics, including hate crimes, fell significantly from 2020 to 2021.

Law enforcement agencies that did not transition to reporting crime data through NIBRS were not able to submit hate crime statistics to the FBI’s UCR Program.

Several of the nation’s largest law enforcement agencies, as well as some states, did not make the transition to NIBRS in time to submit data prior to the reporting deadline, and are not included in the 2021 reported totals.

Participation in NIBRS continues to improve. As of November 1, 2022, 12,090 of the nation’s 18,806 law enforcement agencies have reported crime data using NIBRS.

As more agencies transition to the NIBRS data collection with continued support from the Justice Department, hate crime statistics in coming years will provide a richer and more complete picture of hate crimes nationwide.

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