Crime, Hate Crimes, Stories, USA, World

Data: Significant Increase in Hate Crime Incidents in USA Including Those with Bias Motivation Closely Linked to Indians


In recent times, a disturbing pattern of potentially racially motivated attacks has unfolded against individuals of Indian origin in the USA. Data from the FBI’s UCR database indicates that the number of hate crime incidents in the USA increased significantly in the last few years including those with bias motivation closely linked to Indians.

In recent times, a disturbing pattern of potentially racially motivated attacks has unfolded against individuals of Indian origin in the USA. These incidents have reignited concerns about the safety and security of Indian students across the nation. A member of Parliament from the Opposition Party had also raised this issue and asked the government to probe if there was any ‘hate crime’ angle to these deaths during the Zero Hour of the latest budget session. In response to these developments, the White House has issued a statement affirming the nation’s commitment to thwarting and disrupting such attacks targeting Indians and those of Indian origin. Emphasizing a zero-tolerance policy, they’ve declared that violence rooted in race, gender, religion, or any other factor is unequivocally unacceptable within the United States. 

In today’s story, we look at the trends in Hate crimes in the United States.

Data collection and methodology:

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program provides a comprehensive definition of hate crime, identifying it as a criminal offence driven, either wholly or partially, by the offender’s bias against a particular race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity. The legislative foundation for monitoring hate crimes was laid with the Hate Crime Statistics Act of 23 April 1990, mandating the Attorney General to compile data on crimes displaying evidence of prejudice based on race, religion, sexual orientation, or ethnicity. The Hate Crime Statistics Data Collection under UCR gathers information on criminal offences motivated by bias against the victim’s race, ethnicity, ancestry, gender, gender identity, religion, disability, or sexual orientation, encompassing acts against individuals, property, or society. The data collection underwent many changes since its inception, some of them being the addition of Gender and gender identification as a bias motivation since 2013, individual race and ethnicity bias motivation have been clubbed under a single category from 2015 among others.

Further, the compiled hate crime data for each incident encompasses various elements:

  • Bias Motivation: Incidents may involve one or more types of bias motivation, with up to five bias motivation types reported per offence. 
  • Victims: Hate crime incidents include individuals (both adults and juveniles), businesses, institutions, and society at large.
  • Offenders: Data collection encompasses the number of offenders (adults and juveniles), and, whenever feasible, details regarding the race and ethnicity of the offender(s).
  • Location Type: The location of the incident can be categorized into one of 46 designated location types, including settings like houses of worship, sidewalks, homes, schools, or locations labelled as unknown.

One can find the cleaned and standardized datasets of the above data from Dataful here.

Historic Levels of Hate Crime Incidents reported in the United States in 2022

The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program is responsible for compiling data on hate crimes, including those motivated by single or multiple biases. Law enforcement agencies are required to specify at least one bias motivation for each reported offence type. A single-bias incident is characterized by one or more offence types being driven by the same bias. A multiple-bias incident is described as “an incident where one or more types of offences are motivated by two or more biases.” Each incident can involve multiple offences and multiple victims.

The data on the hate crime incidents show that 2022 recorded the highest levels of incidents, with 11,634 total incidents, up from 10,840 in the previous year. 2021 also marked the first time since the number of incidents rose above ten thousand. From 8,063 incidents in 2000, the hate crime incidents rose by 44%, reaching 11,634 in 2022. The data also shows that more than 97% of hate crime incidents are single-bias incidents.

The target of a hate crime may be an individual, a business or financial institution, a government entity, a religious organization, or society in general. The number of victims rose from 9,924 to a record 13,711 during the same period, rising by 38%.

Almost 60% of the hate crime incidents are motivated by Race/Ethnicity bias.

The motivations behind a hate crime could stem from many factors such as race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, ethnicity and so on. Sometimes the motivation could be a mix of these factors too. The FBI mandates to specify at least one bias motivation for each offence, up to a maximum of five biases. 

The data on the main drivers behind hate crime incidents show that race/ethnicity accounts for an average of 60% or 3/5th of the total incidents, followed by religion at 12%, and sexual orientation at 10%. In the past three years from 2020 to 2022, hate crimes driven by religion and sexual orientation rose from 11% to 18% and 10% to 17% respectively. In absolute terms, the hate crime incidents driven by religion surpassed the two thousand figure for the first time in 2022, settling at 2042.

California tops in hate crime incidents reported, accounts for 17% of the total since 2000.

Analysing hate crimes at the state level is crucial for understanding the localized dynamics of discrimination and violence targeting communities. State-level hate crime data provides valuable insights into the prevalence, trends, and patterns of bias-motivated incidents across different regions.

The data on the state-level reporting of hate crime incidents show that California tops among all states with 17% of the total hate crime incidents reported, followed by New York and New Jersey at 8%. Further, along with these, Michigan, Massachusetts, Ohio, and Washington account for more than half of the total hate crime incidents reported since 2000. States like Mississippi, North and South Dakota, Alaska, and Wyoming were at the bottom, with the least hate crimes being reported.

In contrast, the data after normalizing the incidents of hate crime per lakh population show that the District of Columbia consistently tops among the states, with an average of 12 such incidents per lakh population, followed by New Jersey at 6.4, Massachusetts at 5.7, and Washington at 4.4. during the same period between 2000 and 2022.

(Note: Numerous factors influence the quantity and nature of crime across different areas. UCR statistics include only jurisdictional population figures along with reported crimes. They do not cover the uniqueness of each locality, in terms of socio-economic conditions, demographic distributions, effectiveness of law enforcement agencies, and reporting standards among others. Relying solely on UCR data for rankings can have unintended consequences.)

2021 sees higher numbers of victims closest to Indian context based on biases.

There is no separate data to analyse the incidents of hate crimes committed against Indians. However, some of the biases behind the commitment to hate crimes come closest to the identity of Indians such as Anti-Asian, Anti-Hindu, Anti-Islamic, Anti-American Indian, Anti-Sikh, and Anti-Buddhist among others. This is the closest identity description to an Indian context, particularly because of the lack of availability of the data on the nationality of the victims. 

The data on biases closer to the Indian context show that 2021 saw the highest number of victims of hate crime incidents with 1139 victims, out of which individuals alone accounted for 1026. In 2022, the total number of victims stood at 902, out of which 819 were individuals. These two years represent a significant jump in victims as compared to the previous years. On average, individuals account for 80% of the total victims.

(Note: The below graph is calculated using an indicative list of biases that come closer to the identity of Indians in general. While this is not a fool proof calculation, it still considers wide descriptive characteristics. Readers are advised to exercise caution while interpreting the data.)

Featured Image: Hate Crime Incidents in USA


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