ADL Calls for Comprehensive Hate Crime Reporting in Response to Alarming Gaps in Data Collection

  • December 13, 2022

Texas reported the highest number of hate crimes in two decades, with increases in Houston and San Antonio

December 12, 2022 … ADL (the Anti-Defamation League) today expressed serious concern and called on law enforcement agencies to urgently commit to hate crime data collection and reporting in the wake of newly released FBI hate crime data for 2021, which did not include huge swaths of data from some of the largest jurisdictions in the country.

Law enforcement agencies in ADL’s Southwest Region generally participated in reporting hate crime data to the FBI at rates consistent with or higher than in prior years; however, it is important to note that many law enforcement agencies across the U.S. did not provide any data to the FBI. In fact, there was a 22 percent decrease in the number of reporting agencies nationally, the lowest number of agencies in two decades

• Houston reported 48 hate crimes, an increase over 43 in the 2020.
• San Antonio reported 64 hate crimes, which is four times the 16 hate crimes reported in 2020.
• Texas overall reported 542 hate crimes, a sharp increase over the 406 reported in 2020, marking the highest number of hate crimes reported in Texas in more than two decades.

“Once again, we are experiencing a concerning rise in hate crimes,” said ADL Southwest Regional Director Mark B. Toubin. “The higher numbers illustrate the need to work harder to reduce the level of bias-motivated crime. I do want to thank those law enforcement agencies in Texas that did report hate crime numbers. As data drives policy, accurate reporting helps to potentially reduce hate crime.

On another level, the fact that some of the country’s biggest cities such as New York and Los Angeles didn’t report at all, and some Texas cities, such as Amarillo, Brownsville, Waco and Pearland didn’t report, or reported zero hate crimes, underscores the need for more diligent efforts by law enforcement officials in those cities to report hate crimes.”

There was a 22 percent decrease in the number of reporting agencies, the lowest number of agencies in two decades. In addition to the decline in the number of reporting agencies, some of the largest cities in the country, including New York and Los Angeles, did not participate, nor did nearly the entire state of Florida or most of California. This lack of data renders it challenging to draw conclusions about year-over-year national numbers.

Even with major agencies missing, the data reported is deeply alarming. A total of 7,262 hate crime incidents were reported in 2021, the third-highest number in a decade. This, combined with the missing data from the large number of major cities (and Florida, plus most of California) that have historically reported some of the highest numbers of hate crimes, suggests that had more jurisdictions reported, the report likely would have shown record-high numbers.

“Hate crimes tear at the fabric of our society and traumatize entire communities,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, ADL CEO. “The failure by major states and cities across the country to report hate crime data essentially – and inexcusably – erases the lived experience of marginalized communities across the country.”

Notwithstanding enormous gaps in reporting for 2021, reported race-based hate crimes were the most numerous, comprising more than 60 percent of hate crimes reported by participating jurisdictions. And, consistent with data reported every year since 1991, nearly half of those reported race-based hate crimes were anti-Black hate crimes. The total number of reported anti-AAPI hate crimes was also the highest number on record at any point over the past two decades.

Reported anti-Jewish hate crimes still comprised the largest percentage of religion-based hate crimes in 2021. While the absolute number of reported anti-Jewish hate crimes is much lower than previous years, the 2021 data does not include hate crimes from major jurisdictions that have historically had relatively high numbers of reported anti-Jewish hate crimes.

“Especially at a time when our communities are feeling particularly vulnerable to hate crimes and extremist-fueled attacks, it is egregious that major cities and states across the country have failed to report comprehensive data for 2021,” said Greenblatt. “We urge Congress to make it mandatory for state and local law enforcement agencies that receive federal funding to participate in the FBI’s hate crime data collection efforts

“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 characteristic. 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.”

ADL is the leading anti-hate organization in the world. Founded in 1913, its timeless mission is “to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all.” Today, ADL continues to fight all forms of antisemitism and bias, using innovation and partnerships to drive impact. A global leader in combating antisemitism, countering extremism and battling bigotry wherever and whenever it happens, ADL works to protect democracy and ensure a just and inclusive society for all.