On Monday, the FBI released its annual hate crime statistics report, which found that the number of reported hate crimes has reached the highest it’s been in 12 years.
The Justice Department and FBI are required by the 1990 Hate Crime Statistics Act to publish an annual report on hate crime statistics across the country. According to CNN, more than 10,000 people reported that they were victims of hate crimes in 2020, a number that has been steadily rising over the last decade.
Attacks targeting Black people rose to 2,755 from 1,930, and the number targeting Asians jumped to 274 from 161, the data showed.
The data released on Monday showed that bias against African Americans overwhelmingly comprised the largest category of reported hate crime offenses pertaining to race, with a total of 56% of those crimes motivated by anti-Black or African American bias. Asians have been targeted during the Covid-19 pandemic amid online and political rhetoric stigmatizing them, though this category of hate crime is often underreported.
The category of hate crime incidents where a victim was targeted because of their race, ethnicity or ancestry had the highest increase between 2019 and 2020, with 4,939 incidents in 2020 compared to 3,954 the previous year.
The FBI reports that more than half of the known offenders were white, CNN reports.
The increase occurred even though fewer law enforcement agencies reported hate crimes than in previous years. CNN notes that the report could be a significant undercount because agencies are not required to report them or have different criteria for classifying these crimes.
According to CNBC, the FBI reports that Black or African American people in the U.S. are currently the most targeted racial group with a nearly 40 percent spike in reported incidents.
After anti-Black incidents, the most common hate crimes were those against white people, with 773 reported incidents, and Jewish people, with 676 incidents, according to the data released Monday.
Incidents involving victims who were gay men were the fourth most commonly reported type of hate crime.
The data is based on incident reports submitted by more than 15,000 law enforcement agencies nationwide.
There were 7,759 criminal incidents reported and 10,532 related offenses that were considered hate crimes last year, the FBI said.
The majority of hate crimes, more than 53%, involved intimidation of victims, while nearly 46% were either simple or aggravated assaults.
A total of 22 murders were reported as hate crimes.
In April, President Job Biden signed the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, which was signed after six Asian women were killed at two spas in Atlanta along with two other people. The law was passed to specifically address a rise in anti-Asian American hate crimes during the pandemic.