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FBI: More Than Half of Religiously Motivated Hate Crimes in the U.S. Are Against Jews

Delito, El American

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The FBI released on Monday hate crime statistics for 2020, the latest compilation of the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) program on bias-motivated incidents across the country. Interestingly, 57.58% of the religiously motivated crimes targeted Jews, which corresponds to 2% of the American population.

Of a total of 1,174 religiously motivated hate crimes, 12% (141) were directed against some category of Christians (68 against Catholics, 19 against Protestants, 6 against Mormons, and 48 against other Christians). However, the contrast with the incidence against Jews is surprising given that nearly 70% of the American population identifies as Christian.

On the other hand, 8.85% of the religiously motivated hate crimes (104) were directed against Muslims, who represent just under 1% of the total U.S. population.

hate crimes
Distribution of hate crimes by category. (FBI)

The 2020 data, submitted by 15,136 law enforcement agencies, provides information on the crimes, victims, offenders, and location of hate crimes.

There were 7,554 single-bias incidents involving 10,528 victims. Percentage distribution of victims by motivation shows that 61.9% of the crimes were race, ethnicity or ancestry-based, 20.5% were sexual orientation-based, 13.4% were religious bias-based, 2.5% were gender identity-based, 1% were disability-based and 0.7% were gender-based.

Another noteworthy fact is that out of a total of 4,939 registered hate crimes based on race, which is the vast majority, 78.67% were directed against blacks or African-Americans. In turn, 19.15% of the total was against whites. Interestingly, more than half of the offenders were white, while just over 20% were black.

There were 205 incidents of multiple bias hate crimes involving 333 victims.

Of the 7,426 hate crimes classified as crimes against persons in 2020, 53.4% were for intimidation, 27.6% were for simple assault, and 18.1% were for aggravated assault. In addition, 22 murders and 19 rapes were reported as hate crimes. The remaining 27 hate crimes were recorded in the “other” category.

Of the 2,913 hate crimes classified as property crimes, the majority (76.4%) were acts of vandalism. Burglary, theft, robbery, assault, motor vehicle theft, arson, and other crimes accounted for the remaining 23.6% of the property crimes.

A total of 193 additional crimes were categorized as crimes against society. This category of crime represents the prohibition to participate in certain types of activities, such as gambling, prostitution and drug smuggling. These are generally victimless crimes in which property is not the object.

Known offender crimes

In the UCR program, the term ‘known offender’ does not imply that the suspect’s identity is known; rather, it indicates that some identifying aspects of the potential offender were identified. Law enforcement agencies specify the number of offenders and, when possible, race, age, sex, or some other visible traits. Beginning in 2013, law enforcement agencies began reporting whether suspects were juveniles or adults, as well as their ethnicity when possible.

Of the 6,431 known offenders, 55.2 percent were white and 20.2 percent were black or African American. Other races accounted for the remainder of the 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 % belonged to a multiracial group. Race was unknown for 16.4 % of the cases.

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% belonged to a multiethnic group. The ethnicity of 47.5% of these offenders was unknown.

Of the 5,915 known offenders whose ages were identified, 89.1% were 18 years of age or older.

Advocacy bodies can specify the location of the crime within a hate crime incident as one of 46 location designations. In 2020, the majority of hate crime incidents (28.3%) occurred in or near residences or homes. Nearly 20% (19.9) occurred on highways, roads, alleys, streets, and sidewalks, 6.5 % occurred in parking lots or garages, 4.4% occurred at schools or colleges, 3.6% occurred in parks, and 3.6 % occurred at houses of worship.

The location was reported as unknown for 8.6% of the hate crime incidents. The remaining 25.1% occurred in other or multiple locations.

Tomás Lugo, journalist and writer. Born in Venezuela and graduated in Social Communication. Has written for international media outlets. Currently living in Colombia // Tomás Lugo, periodista y articulista. Nacido en Venezuela y graduado en Comunicación Social. Ha escrito para medios internacionales. Actualmente reside en Colombia.

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