Incomplete Data Prevents True Understanding of US Hate Crimes

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This year’s hate crime statistics report is incomplete and unreliable, and we must not compare it to previous years.

ADC to strengthen and expand the infrastructure to accurately capture and report anti-Arab and anti-Muslim hate incidents nationwide.

Washington, D.C. | www.adc.org | December 12, 2022 – In response to the FBI’s release of hate crime statistics for 2021, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) cautions the public against making any comparisons of this year’s data to that of prior years. It is the first time that this data was collected using the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS), the national standard for law enforcement crime data reporting in the United States – an important step towards making hate crimes data more accurate and comprehensive. With the transition to using this system still ongoing, underreporting by law enforcement agencies represents an even larger problem than in years past.

According to the FBI, 7,303 hate crime incidents were reported in 2021. Of those, the 2,233 anti-Black incidents represented the largest number of incidents based on race, ethnicity, or ancestry, while the 324 anti-Jewish incidents represented the largest number of incidents based on religion. Anti-Arab incidents accounted for 75 of the incidents reported, while anti-Muslim incidents accounted for 96. These numbers are intentionally provided without comparison to previous years due to the incomplete nature of the data.

As the federal government continues to build more accurate data reports, it is also important to remember that inaccuracies in hate crimes statistics will continue to be significantly impacted by victims of hate crimes not reporting them to law enforcement. Bureau of Justice Statistics, an estimated 56% of hate crimes are not reported to the police.

ADC National Executive Director Abed Ayoub said, “The Arab and Muslim communities continue to be targeted by those who hold anti-Arab, racist, xenophobic, and Islamophobic views. ADC has begun work to strengthen and expand the nationwide community infrastructure to accurately capture and report anti-Arab and anti-Muslim hate crimes and incidents nationwide. More information will be provided on our efforts in 2023.”

ADC Government Affairs and Advocacy Director Chris Habiby said, “This year’s hate crime statistics report is incomplete and unreliable, and we must not compare it to previous years. Our collective focus must be on standing with every community targeted by hate violence and working to ensure that full and accurate reporting in the years ahead. We must also work towards making hate crime reporting by law enforcement agencies across the country mandatory.”

ADC will continue working to address hate crime incidents targeting the Arab and Muslim communities in the U.S. If you are a victim of a hate crime or incident and need assistance, please email the ADC Legal Department to legal@adc.org.

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