FBI’s Hate Crime Report Reveals Rise in Crimes in 2019


The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)’s annual ‘Hate Crimes Statistics’ report, 2019, says that last year more than 7,000 criminal incidents and over 8,500 related offenses were motivated by bias towards race, ethnicity, ancestry, religion, sexual orientation, disability, gender, and gender identity.

The report “2019 Hate Crime Statistics ” released Monday, Nov. 16, released the hate crime incidents recorded in 2019 are the highest recorded in more than a decade, according to the report.

The report is compiled by the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) program, which relied on 2019 data provided by over 15,500 law enforcement agencies across the US on offenses, victims, offenders and locations of hate crimes.

The FBI defines a hate crime as “a traditional offense like murder, arson, or vandalism with an added element of bias”. For the purposes of collecting statistics, the FBI defines a hate crime as a “criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity”.

According to the report, racially motivated hate crime incidents made up the majority of hate crimes reported in 2019, with nearly half of the incidents motivated by anti-Black racism. The number of anti-Black hate crimes was the highest it’s been since 2011.

In 2019, there were 51 hate-motivated homicides, including the 23 people who were killed in a shooting at a Wal-Mart store in El Paso where a 21-year-old gunman targeted Latinos. According to the FBI report, there were 7,314 hate crimes in 2019, up from 7,120 the year before. The FBI defines hate crimes as those motivated by bias based on a person’s race, religion, gender, and sexual orientation among other categories.

On the brighter side, it showed that the Sikh community faced a relatively lesser number of reported anti-Sikh incidents in 2019, after a record 200 percent increase in 2018.

In regards to hate crimes towards the Muslim community, it showed that crimes motivated by anti-Muslim sentiment decreased with 176 reported, however, overall hate crime incidents targeting Muslims and those perceived as Muslims have been up since 2015.

In all these hate crimes many are unknown individuals and groups, and of the known offenders, over 50% identified as white.

In 2019, over 24.6 percent of the hate crime incidents occurred in or near residences or homes and more than 18 percent occurred on highways, roads, alleys, streets and sidewalks. A little less than 10 percent of the incidents occurred at schools or colleges. For over 11 percent of the hate crime incidents, the location was unknown.

While numbers paint a grave picture, they are far from the real-world incidents which go uninformed. It does not project the real prevalence of hate violence incidents in the U.S. The federal government has yet to mandate hate crime reporting at the state and local levels.

Hate violence targeting South Asians, Arabs, and Muslims is fueled by state-sanctioned white supremacy. Policies and practices like the Muslim Ban, family separation, and ongoing police violence endanger our communities because they embolden white supremacists.

From the constant vandalizing of mosques, harassment of Muslim women, to the targeting of South Asians in their own neighborhoods, we have seen the very real and constant impact of this violence.

SAAT is committed to advocating for policy and community-based solutions that address hate violence from its root cause – by overhauling unjust systems grounded in white supremacy.