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Last year’s hate crimes hit highest levels in more than a decade, according to FBI

The rise was driven by a growing number of offenses against Black and Asian victims, new data submitted by local law enforcement agencies showed.
People attend a "Stop Asian Hate" rally in Houston, Texas, on March 20, 2021.
People attend a "Stop Asian Hate" rally in Houston, Texas, on March 20, 2021.Mark Felix / AFP via Getty Images

NEW YORK, Aug 30 — The number of hate crimes in the United States rose last year to the highest level in more than a decade, driven by a rise in assaults targeting Black victims and victims of Asian descent, the FBI reported on Monday.

The 2020 data, submitted to the FBI by more than 15,000 law enforcement agencies across the country, identified 7,759 hate-crimes in 2020, a 6 percent increase over 2019 and the highest tally since 2008.

The FBI data showed the number of offenses targeting Blacks rose to 2,755 from 1,930 and incidents against Asians jumped to 274 from 158.

Of the 7,426 hate crime offenses classified as crimes against people, as opposed to crimes against property, 53.4 percent were for intimidation, 27.6 percent were for simple assault and 18.1 percent were for aggravated assault. Twenty-two murders and 19 rapes were reported as hate crimes.

The U.S. Justice Department has warned that white supremacist groups represent a rising security threat after the deadly Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol.

At the same time, reports of hate-inspired attacks on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have also been on the rise, spurred by what many say were then-President Donald Trump’s inflammatory remarks blaming the COVID-19 pandemic on China.

In May, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland outlined new steps to help state and local police track and investigate hate crimes, which historically have been an under-reported crime to the FBI by local law enforcement, and called for the department to expedite the review of possible hate crimes.

A hate crimes bill to combat violence against Asian Americans passed the U.S. Senate in April with overwhelming bipartisan support.

The measure, authored by Democratic Senator Mazie Hirono and Representative Grace Meng, designated a Justice Department employee to expedite a review of hate crimes reported to police during the Covid-19 pandemic.

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