Hate crimes in the United States rose to the highest level in over a decade as federal officials recorded the highest number of hate-motivated killings, reports revealed.
The FBI’s annual Hate Crime Statistics Report released Monday detailed increases in the hate-motivated murders, as well as the anti-Jewish, anti-Hispanic, and anti-LGBTQ+ attacks.
There were 7,314 hate crimes last year, increasing from the 7,120 the year before — slowly approaching the highest count of 7,783 back in 2008.
The data also shows a nearly 7% increase in religion-based hate crimes, with 953 reports of crimes targeting Jews last year, up from 835 the year before.
Meanwhile, the FBI said the number of hate crimes against African Americans dropped slightly to 1,930, from 1,943.
Anti-Hispanic hate crimes, however, rose to 527 in 2019, from 485 in 2018, reports further showed.
The total number of hate crimes based on a person’s sexual orientation stayed relatively stable, with one fewer crime reported last year than the year before, though there were 20 more hate crimes against gay men reported.
However, advocacy groups like the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) warn that the FBI report undercounts the nation’s actual number of hate crimes.
Law enforcement agencies are responsible for providing data to the FBI. However, in 2019, only 2,172 of the 15,588 participating law enforcement agencies reported one or more hate crimes.
“The total severity of the impact and damage caused by hate crimes cannot be fully measured without complete participation in the FBI’s data collection process,” said ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt in a statement.
Congress and law enforcement agencies should improve their data collection and reporting, he added.