FBI Releases 2018 Hate Crimes Report

The Decrease In Aggregate Hate Crimes is Undermined By An Increase in Anti-Minority Hate Crimes

November 12, 2019

Earlier today, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) released its annual report of hate crime statistics for the year 2018. There were marked increases in hate crimes against minority communities and indicated a record number of violent hate crime offenses against minority faith communities. Such crimes are frequently associated with incidents of white supremacist terrorist violence, which has in turn affected American Muslim communities over the course of the past year. There were also three times as many anti-Sikh hate crime incidents in 2018 as compared to 2017. Such incidents are also frequently associated with anti-Muslim hate and bigotry, as many Sikh victims are mistakenly identified as Muslims. The report indicated that 15 percent of religiously biased hate crimes were directed against Muslims, a 4 percent decrease from the figures reported last year. 

More notable than these figures, however, is the fact that the FBI’s hate crimes data remain systematically underreported across the United States. The latest FBI data reports only 7,120 hate crimes in the U.S., while the Federal Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that Americans experience an average of 250,000 hate crimes per year. There are many explanations for this steep difference. As we reported in our analysis of federal hate crimes reporting, there are serious deficiencies in reporting hate crimes, both by victims and government officials. 

These deficiencies can be addressed through improvements to the overall hate crimes legislative landscape, as well as through direct engagement with the federal agencies who report hate crimes and apportion preventative resources. The FBI’s 2018 hate crimes report only underscores the need to engage in the processes by which such legislation is crafted. We have done this through our work on the Hill, and will continue to do so moving forward. 

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