Press Release

ADL Deeply Alarmed by 2020 FBI Hate Crimes Data; Reiterates Calls for Increased Reporting

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2020 marked the highest level in 12 years and represents a 6% increase from 2019

New York, NY, August 30, 2021 … ADL (the Anti-Defamation League) today expressed deep alarm in response to the FBI’s annual Hate Crimes Statistics Act (HCSA) report, which revealed that 2020 saw a six percent increase in reported hate crimes from the previous year and represented the highest total in 12 years.

In 2020, the FBI reported 7,759 hate crime incidents, a six percent increase from 7,314 in 2019 and the most since 2008, when 7,783 hate crime incidents were reported. Reported hate crimes targeting Black people rose to 2,755 from 1,930 the prior year – representing a 43 percent increase, and the number of anti-Asian hate crimes rose from 158 to 274.

Reported hate crimes targeting the Jewish community made up nearly 60 percent of all religion-based hate crimes. Overall, religion-based hate crime incidents decreased from 1,521 in 2019 to 1,174 in 2020; this includes incidents targeting the Jewish community, which decreased from 953 to 676.

The increase in reported hate crimes comes despite the fact that, for the third straight year, the number of law enforcement agencies providing data to the FBI has declined.

According to the FBI, only 15,136 agencies participated, which is 452 less than in 2019. The larger majority of agencies who did participate reported zero hate crimes.

“As ADL has said time and time again, when just one individual is targeted by a hate crime, it negatively impacts the entire community, resulting in marginalized groups rightfully feeling vulnerable and under siege,” said ADL CEO Jonathan A. Greenblatt. “While these numbers are disturbing on their own, the fact that so many law enforcement agencies did not participate is inexcusable, and the fact that over 60 jurisdictions with populations over 100,000 affirmatively reported zero hate crimes is simply not credible. Data drives policy and without having a complete picture of the problem, we cannot even begin to resolve the issues driving this surge in hate and violence.”

The FBI’s report is based on voluntary local law enforcement reporting to the Bureau.

In the coming days, ADL will update its interactive hate crime map to reflect the most recent FBI data. The map includes links to every hate crime law on the books in the U.S. and FBI hate crime data from 2004-2019 for all 50 states and for cities with more than 100,000 residents. The map gives users the ability to explore hate crime laws, as well as hate crime data, broken down by targeted, protected characteristics at the national, statewide, and city level.

ADL has been a longstanding leader on combating hate crimes: ADL crafted the first model hate crime legislation in America, and 46 states plus the District of Columbia now have laws based on or similar to ADL’s model. The organization also led the large coalition of organizations that ultimately spearheaded the passage of the landmark Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act in 2009, which established a federal hate crimes law.