Newly released FBI data found that hate crimes were at a record high in the United States in 2021, revealing a dangerous pattern not seen in over two decades.
The number of reported anti-Jewish hate crimes rose from 683 in 2020 to 817 in 2021, and comprised slightly more than half of all religion-based hate crimes in 2021, consistent with FBI data from prior years. There were also 109 antisemitic assaults reported, a 16 percent increase from 2020. Overall, antisemitic incidents increased 19.6 percent.
The Anti-Defamation League (AD), reacting to the overall data – which recorded 10,840 incidents in 2021, the highest in more than 20 years – said that the updated tally gives a “complete picture of hate crimes in America” which is a more accurate representation of the daily lives of minority communities in the US.
“The supplemental hate crime data released today confirms what ADL predicted at the time of the initial release – reported hate crimes for 2021 reached record high levels,” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said.
He called for Congress to mandate that state and local law enforcement agencies receiving federal funding participate in the FBI’s hate crime data collection program each year.
“Data drives policy. Moving forward, law enforcement agencies must urgently commit to hate crime data collection and reporting,” he said. “Absent comprehensive and inclusive data, policymakers will lack the critical information that is needed to address these concerning trends.”
The supplemental data released by the FBI after the initial release of 2021 hate crime data in December revealed 10,840 reported hate crimes in 2021 (rather than the 7,262 incidents the FBI data had initially reflected). A total of 14,859 law enforcement agencies, which represents about 79 percent of the agencies enrolled in the hate crime data collection program, participated in reporting for 2021.
Of the total number of reported hate crime incidents, a clear majority (approximately 64.5 percent) were based on race, ethnicity or national origin – which has been the case for the last two decades, with reported anti-Black hate crimes making up the vast majority of cases.
ADL’s own count of both criminal and non-criminal acts of hate against Jews found a total of 2,717 antisemitic incidents in 2021, the highest number on record since ADL began tracking such data in 1979. Assaults, including violent assaults, increased 167 percent in 2021.
The organization pointed out that while Jews made up only two percent of the US population in 2021, antisemitic hate crimes accounted for 7.5 percent of all hate crimes reported by the FBI.
“With antisemitic incidents up across the board in nearly every category we track, and with the FBI data now reflecting a 19.6 percent increase in reported antisemitic hate crimes for 2021, a whole-of-government, whole-of-society approach will be needed to address these extremely disturbing trends,” Greenblatt said. “Hate crimes are message crimes; they are uniquely harmful and deeply personal, both to the individual and to the group of people who share the individual’s characteristics.”
“It is essential that, as we craft policy solutions and dig into the hard work of addressing hate crimes, we take a community and victim-centered approach,” he added.