Hate Crimes against Indian Americans continue to rise: FBI

FBI hate crimes reporting
New FBI data shows rise in bias-motivated crimes against Indian Americans, specifically Sikhs, Muslims and Hindus.

There was a marked rise in bias-motivated crimes against Indian Americans, specifically Sikhs, Muslims and Hindus in 2020, according to newly released FBI Hate Crime Statistics for the year.

Data compiled from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) shows 71 Sikh Americans were victims of a hate crime in 2020; 47 offenders targeted the community in 67 attacks, according to the report released by the Justice Department on Aug. 30. This marks a huge jump from 2019 when 50 Sikh Americans were the target of hate crimes.

Alarmingly, the number of hate crimes against Hindu Americans has jumped by more than 500 percent, from just two in 2019, to 11 in 2020. Six offenders participated in 11 attacks against Hindu Americans.

Read: AAPI group launches think tank to counter hate crimes (April 12, 2021)

The FBI logged 15 hate-motivated attacks against Buddhists in 2020. Surprisingly, the number of hate crimes against Muslim Americans dropped by half: 121 offenders participated in 104 attacks against Muslims, rendering 124 victims.

The FBI has dis-aggregated data for Hindus and Sikhs since 2016.

A total of 324 hate-related incidents targeting Asian Americans were reported by the FBI, a tiny fraction of the self-reported incidents collected Stop AAPI Hate portal launched last year.

As of the end of June, Stop AAPI Hate had collected more than 6,600 reports of bias on its portal, in several languages, including Hindi, Punjabi, and Urdu.

Law enforcement agencies around the country submitted incident reports involving 7,759 criminal incidents and 10,532 related offenses as being motivated by bias toward race, ethnicity, ancestry, religion, sexual orientation, disability, gender, and gender identity,

There were 7,554 single-bias incidents involving 10,528 victims. A percent distribution of victims by bias type shows that 61.9% of victims were targeted because of the offenders’ race/ethnicity/ancestry bias.

Of the 6,431 known offenders, 55.2% were White and 20.2% were Black or African American. Other races accounted for the remaining known offenders: 1.1% were Asian, 1.1% were American Indian or Alaska Native, 0.5% were Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, and 5.6% were of a group of multiple races. The race was unknown for 16.4%.

Of the 5,820 known offenders for whom ethnicity was reported, 39.3% were Not Hispanic or Latino, 10.7% were Hispanic or Latino, and 2.5% were in a group of multiple ethnicities. Ethnicity was unknown for 47.5% of these offenders.

“Preventing and responding to hate crimes and hate incidents is one of the Justice Department’s highest priorities,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement issued Aug. 30.

The FBI Hate Crime Statistics for 2020 demonstrates the urgent need for a comprehensive response,” he said noting that there was a six percent increase in hate crime reports and a rise in hate crimes against Asian Americans.

“These numbers confirm what we have already seen and heard from communities, advocates and law enforcement agencies around the country. And these numbers do not account for the many hate crimes that go unreported,” he said.

Read: Hate Crimes Against Indian Americans Continue to Rise, According to Newly Released FBI Data (September 7, 2021)

The Justice Department is aiming to improve incident reporting, increasing law enforcement training and coordination at all levels of government, prioritizing community outreach and making better use of civil enforcement mechanisms.

“All of these steps share common objectives: deterring hate crimes and bias-related incidents, addressing them when they occur, supporting those victimized by them and reducing the pernicious effects these incidents have on our society,” said Garland.

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