WASHINGTON–Today, the FBI released its annual report on reported hate crimes for 2021. In response, Damon Hewitt, President of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, released the following statement:
“As advocates working with Black survivors and communities that have disproportionately been targeted for hateful activity, sadly we are not surprised to see that Black people are once again the group most frequently targeted for hate. The nation’s problem with anti-Black racism continues, as does the ongoing sense of threat and lack of safety.
All the while, we know this report still represents a vast undercount, as many of the hate crimes that we know are occuring are not reflected in the data. Compared to the prior year, this year saw a decrease of 22% fewer law enforcement agencies voluntarily reporting hate crimes data, including major cities like New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago and Phoenix, which failed to report any hate crime numbers at all.
This year’s transition to the new National Incident Based Reporting System has made it especially difficult to compare 2021’s reported hate crime data to those of past years. The transition has only exacerbated trends in underreporting of hate crime data.
Distrust between historically marginalized populations and law enforcement is exacerbated when communities are targeted for hate crimes and law enforcement fails to capture those crimes in the data it reports to the FBI. Our leaders in law enforcement and government must leverage all tools available to ensure that communities have the resources they need to respond to hateful activity and ensure hate crimes data is as accurate as possible.”
About the James Byrd Jr. Center to Stop Hate at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law –The James Byrd Jr. Center to Stop Hate, at the Lawyers’ Committee, supports communities and individuals targeted for hate and challenges white supremacy by using creative legal advocacy, disrupting systems that enable hate, and educating the general public and policy makers.