The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has released its latest data on hate crimes in the United States, revealing a concerning increase of almost 12% from 2020 to 2021, but the administration of Gov. Phil Murphy failed to make sure local police provide accurate information to the federal law enforcement agency.
Hate crimes based on race and ethnicity were the primary driver of this uptick, with nearly 65% of victims being targeted for these reasons.
The Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program generated reliable statistics for law enforcement since 1930, but recent changes have put the quality of data in doubt.
The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program collected the 2021 hate crime statistics supplement from only about 3,000 police departments from a total of more than 18,000 city, university and college, county, state, tribal, and federal law enforcement agencies.
The latest UCR covers a combined population of only about 87 million of the approximately 331 million people in the United States. Historically, estimates were based on data contributed annually by law enforcement agencies that covered 90% or more of the U.S. population.
The data was compiled using the Summary Reporting System (SRS) and the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS), and provides a more complete representation of reported hate crimes in the US for 2021.
The New Jersey State Police have not updated the UCR data available for public inspection since almost two years ago. The latest information provided by the NJSP is for the end of the first quarter in 2021, which can be accessed online at https://nj.gov/njsp/ucr/crime-reports.shtml
Crime data are derived from the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) 177 of 578 law enforcement agencies in New Jersey voluntarily submitted reports to the FBI for 2021.
Overall, there were 9,065 reported hate crime incidents nationally in 2021, up from 8,120 in 2020. In addition to race and ethnicity, hate crimes based on sexual orientation and religious bias also increased, accounting for 15.9% and 14.1% of reported incidents, respectively.
The dataset for 2021 included all law enforcement agency hate crime incident reporting, regardless of the number of months or quarters. While the NIBRS dataset reported 7,262 incidents and 8,673 related offenses motivated by bias, the supplemental hate crime dataset reports involve 10,840 incidents and 12,411 related offenses. This is because more agencies were able to submit via the SRS system, providing a more accurate representation of the data.
Over 12,000 victims were involved in the reported hate crime incidents, with over 10,500 single-bias incidents reported. Of these, the majority (64.5%) were targeted due to race, ethnicity, or ancestry bias. The remaining victims were targeted due to sexual orientation bias (15.9%), religious bias (14.1%), gender identity bias (3.2%), disability bias (1.4%), or gender bias (1.0%).
Crimes against persons accounted for over 8,000 hate crime offenses, with the majority being intimidation (43.2%), simple assault (35.5%), and aggravated assault (20.1%). There were also 19 rapes and 18 murders reported as hate crimes.
Crimes against property accounted for over 3,800 hate crime offenses, with over 70% being acts of destruction, damage, or vandalism. The remaining offenses were classified as crimes against society, which includes activities like gambling, prostitution, and drug violations.
The FBI’s latest release of hate crime statistics reflects its commitment to providing meaningful data sets to the American public.
The full report, Hate Crime Statistics, 2021, is available for download on the FBI’s Crime Data Explorer.
Historical publications (through 2019) are on the UCR Publications page.