Based on a new reporting system, the Federal Bureau of Investigations has calculated an increase in hate crimes in the U.S. between 2020 and 2021. Considering only localities that provided sufficient data for both years, the newly released Hate Crime Statistics found 9,065 incidents in 2021, up from 8,120 in 2020. Considering all reporting law enforcement agencies in 2021, the FBI even counted 10,840 hate crime incidents and 12,822 victims.
Looking at all 2021 victims, a majority of them were targeted due to their race or ethnicity, according to the report, with anti-Black crime being the most common offense. Sexual orientation was the next biggest factor, with almost 16 percent being victimized because of it - slightly more than for religious reasons (14.1 percent). Here, anti-gay and anti-Jewish hate crimes were the most common. The report concludes that 35 percent of hate crimes were against property, most commonly vandalism or other damage. 66 percent of crimes were directed towards persons. The most frequently recorded type was intimidation, while at 2,553 and 1,405 incidents, simple and aggravated assault were also shockingly common.
In 2020, the FBI debuted its new crime reporting system which is able to capture more nuances - for example listing several and not just one offense per incident, the latter having led to hate crimes being undercounted in the past. However, in 2020, the system change led to many law enforcement agencies not reporting figures at all, creating limited comparability between the 2020 and 2021 gross counts (as well as with the previous years due to the changes in reporting detail).