The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) released its annual hate crime report on Monday (November 16).
The report shows that hate crime levels in the US reached their highest level in more than a decade.
In 2019, there were 7,314 reported hate crimes. That’s a jump from the 7,120 hate crimes reported in 2018.
Last year’s numbers are the highest since 2008’s all-time high of 7,783 reported hate crimes.
2019 saw 51 hate crime murders, including the 22 victims of the El Paso, Texas Walmart shooting.
The Bureau began collecting hate crime data in the early 1990s and since then has seen varying trends in reported hate crimes.
It classifies an act as a hate crime if it’s motivated by a person’s race, religion, sexual orientation, and other categories.
Hate crimes against Black people dropped slightly from 1,943 to 1,930, according to the report.
Authorities believe the increase is due in part to police departments better reporting their data, but they don’t doubt that hate crimes are on the rise in the country.
The US Justice Department has made efforts to prioritize hate crime prosecutions to address the increases seen in the report.
The report also shows that religious-based crimes were up almost 7%, a significant increase of crimes targeting Jewish people or Jewish buildings from 835 in 2018 and 953 last year.
Hate crimes against Hispanic people increased from 485 reports in 2018 to 527 in 2019. Crimes that target people based on their sexual orientation was stable, according to the report but 20 more crimes against gay men were reported.
With the release of the report, advocacy groups call on Congress to get better coordinated reporting because the data have long been considered incomplete since agencies report data voluntarily.
Out of the nearly 15,000 participating agencies around the country, only 2,172 reported hate crime data. The FBI said the number of agencies reporting data increased, but the total number of participating agencies dropped from previous years.
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