FBI 2019 Hate Crimes Report: Highest Number of Hate Crime Murders Since 1991

Novem­ber 17, 2020: Yes­ter­day, the FBI released its 2019 Hate Crime Sta­tis­tics Report, show­ing the dead­liest year on record and the high­est num­ber of hate crime mur­ders since 1991. A total of 7,314 hate crime inci­dents were report­ed by law enforce­ment agen­cies. The FBI data illus­trates a slight decrease from last year’s report, and yet we know that com­mu­ni­ties of col­or, LGBTQ folks, and peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties con­tin­ue to be tar­gets of hate vio­lence by white suprema­cist indi­vid­u­als and insti­tu­tions.

Major findings of the report:

  • The FBI report cites the Sikh com­mu­ni­ty saw a slight decrease in the num­ber of report­ed anti-Sikh inci­dents in 2019, after a record 200 per­cent increase in 2018. And while crimes moti­vat­ed by anti-Mus­lim sen­ti­ment decreased, with 176 report­ed, over­all hate crime inci­dents tar­get­ing Mus­lims and those per­ceived as Mus­lims has been up since 2015. As of Novem­ber 1, 2020, SAALT and our part­ners have tracked 348 inci­dents of xeno­pho­bic or Islam­o­pho­bic rhetoric, and 733 inci­dents of hate vio­lence tar­get­ing Mus­lims and Asian Amer­i­cans, and those per­ceived as Mus­lim or Asian Amer­i­can, since Novem­ber 2015.
  • 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.
  • There were 51 hate crime mur­ders in 2019. 22 of those were the racial­ly moti­vat­ed mur­ders in the sin­gle El Paso shoot­ing last August. There was a nine per­cent increase in report­ed hate crime inci­dents against Lati­nos, and yet the dead­ly El Paso shoot­ing was cat­e­go­rized under “anti-oth­er race/ethnicity/ancestry” despite well doc­u­ment­ed anti-Mex­i­can sen­ti­ment. As report­ed in SAALT’s COVID report, the “oth­er” cat­e­go­riza­tion often obscures the true impact on com­mu­ni­ties. 
  • Of the known offend­ers, over 50% iden­ti­fied as white.

The num­bers depict a far from accu­rate pic­ture of 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. Dur­ing an extra­or­di­nary year of upris­ings and state vio­lence against Black and brown com­mu­ni­ties, it is imper­a­tive for Con­gress to pass the Jabara-Hey­er NO HATE Act, (H.R. 3545; S. 2043), which helps close vast gaps in hate crime sta­tis­tics and improve data col­lec­tion on hate crimes by local, state, and fed­er­al law enforce­ment agen­cies. The bill also includes a restora­tive jus­tice com­po­nent which pro­vides an “alter­na­tive sen­tenc­ing” pro­vi­sion that would allow spe­cif­ic defen­dants super­vised release to under­take edu­ca­tion­al class­es or com­mu­ni­ty ser­vice direct­ly relat­ed to the harmed com­mu­ni­ty. 

Hate vio­lence tar­get­ing South Asian, 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, har­rass­ment 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 fight­ing all the man­i­fes­ta­tions of state sanc­tioned hate.