FBI's latest hate crime stats don't provide the full picture

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Posted at 9:54 AM, Dec 13, 2022

More than 8,000 people were victims of bias-motivated incidents in 2021, according to the FBI.

The crimes varied from intimidation and assault to rape and murder.

The FBI says 64.8% of the victims were targeted because of their race or ethnicity and 15.6% were targeted because of sexual orientation. Biases toward religions, gender identity and disability were also contributing factors in smaller percentages, the FBI said.

Most of the incidents, 32%, happened at or near a person's home. Nearly 17% occurred on highways, roads, alleys, streets and sidewalks,

The FBI says most of the suspects, 56.1%, are white. Black or African Americans accounted for 21.3% of the suspects. American Indians or Alaska Natives followed with 1% each.

The FBI's data, however, appears incomplete. For 2021, the data came from 11,834 participating law enforcement agencies. In 2020, the FBI received information from more than 15,000 agencies.

The FBI blames a shift in how data is collected. It says some law enforcement agencies, some large, didn't transition to a new data collection system in time to be represented in the report.

"As more agencies transition to the NIBRS data collection with continued support from the Justice Department, hate crime statistics in coming years will provide a richer and more complete picture of hate crimes nationwide," the FBI stated.