FBI reports 2019 was deadliest year on record for hate crimes

Hate crimes on the rise as civil rights groups call for further action to be taken

Chris Riotta
New York
Monday 16 November 2020 19:54
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The United States has recorded its deadliest year on record for hate-motivated killings, with 51 hate crime murders documented in a 2019 FBI report released on Monday.

The agency reported a rise in the number of total hates crimes last year from 7,120 to 7,314, including 51 murders — 22 of which occurred during an August 2019 shooting in El Paso, Texas.

The shooter opened fired at a Walmart in the city near the US-Mexico border in an attempt to target Mexicans and scare Hispanics from living in the US, federal authorities said.

It was the deadliest year recorded by the agency since it began collecting the data in the 1990s, and featured the most hate crimes than any other year since 2008.

Human and civil rights groups said the rise in hate crimes was a sign that more needed to be done to address the issues of systemic racism and hate-based crimes.

Margaret Huan, president of the Southern Poverty Law Center, said in a statement: “The FBI’s report is another reminder that we have much work to do to address hate in America.”

The Anti-Defamation League noted how many police and county sheriff’s departments across the country fail to provide reports of hate-motivated incidents to the FBI, saying in a statement: “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.”

Of the hate crimes recorded in 2019, 953 targeted Jewish people — a reported 14 percent increase from the year prior.

The majority of hate crimes targeting people of faith comprised of Jewish victims, with a number of high-profile attacks against synagogues across the country in recent years, including a 2018 shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue that killed 11 people.

“We also need to remove the barriers that too often prevent people in marginalized communities – the individuals most likely to suffer hate crimes – from reporting hate-based incidents in the first instance,” Mr Greenblatt said. “In this pivotal moment in our national conversation about the importance of justice for communities of color, religious minorities, and the LGBTQ+ community, we must make combating hate crimes a top priority.”

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