Skip to content

Illustration by Security Management

Hate Crimes Rise in United States

According to the FBI’s 2019 Hate Crime Statistics Report, the number of hate crime incidents increased slightly in the United States last year to 7,314. This represents a 2.7 percent increase from 2018 and is the most incidents since 2008.


Crimes against persons (as opposed to property) were down somewhat, from 5,566 in 2018 to 5,512 in 2019; however, murders more than doubled, from 24 in 2018 to 51 in 2019. Most of the murder increase came from a single incident when 22 people were killed on 3 August 2019 in a mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas.

The motivations behind the hate crime incidents varied:

  • 55.8 percent were motivated by a race/ethnicity/ancestry bias.
  • 21.4 percent were prompted by religious bias.
  • 16.8 percent resulted from sexual-orientation bias.
  • 2.8 percent were motivated by gender-identity bias.
  • 2.2 percent were prompted by disability bias.
  • 1.0 percent were motivated by gender bias.

The following groups were the target of those offenses motivated by race/ethnicity/ancestry bias:

  • 46.9 percent were motivated by anti-Black or African American bias.
  • 20.2 percent stemmed from anti-White bias.
  • 13.0 percent were classified as anti-Hispanic or Latino bias.
  • 4.1 percent were motivated by anti-American Indian or Alaska Native bias.
  • 3.5 percent resulted from anti-Asian bias.
  • 3.4 percent were a result of bias against groups of individuals consisting of more than one race (anti-multiple races, groups).
  • 2.0 percent were classified as anti-Arab bias.
  • 0.5 percent (26 offenses) were motivated by bias of anti-Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander.
  • 6.4 percent were the result of an anti-Other Race/Ethnicity/Ancestry bias.

The FBI report has compiled the Hate Crimes Report every year since 1990 after Congress passed the Hate Crime Statistics Act. The report, however, has its limitations.

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) said, “It’s important to note that, because of the nature of hate crime reporting, the FBI’s annual report vastly understates the real level of hate crimes in the country. Local and state law enforcement agencies are not required by law to report hate crime data to the FBI. In addition, many hate crimes go unreported because of inadequate training and a lack of trust between law enforcement and the communities they police.” The SPLC says previous Department of Justice estimates indicate that 250,000 people are victimized by hate crimes each year. However, despite its issues with the overall numbers, SPLC notes that the annual report is useful for looking at trends over time.

For more, see additional recent Security Management articles related to hate crimes:

The Art of Radicalization Resistance

Today in Security: Report Details Threat of Connections Between White Supremacist Groups and Law Enforcement