The Washington Post
Last year was worst for hate crimes since 2001
The state of Ohio said it has sent an updated tally of hate crimes to the FBI that would dramatically increase the nationwide total for 2020 to 8,305, the most since 2001 and third-highest since the federal government began tracking such data nearly three decades ago.
The FBI issued its annual hate crimes report Aug. 30 and said it had tallied 7,759 incidents. But Ohio reported just 34 bias crimes, less than 10 percent of the previous year, which state officials now attribute to a technical glitch.
The state’s new figures show that 580 hate crimes were reported last year, according to Bret Crow, a spokesman for the Ohio Department of Public Safety, representing a 41 percent increase over 2019.
The data would mean that the number of hate crimes across the country spiked by nearly 14 percent in 2020, with the increase driven largely by more attacks on people who are Black or Asian. In Ohio, crimes targeting Black people rose from 92 in 2019 to 129 last year, while attacks targeting Asians held roughly the same at 10, one fewer than the previous year.
Attacks targeting White people in Ohio rose from 59 to 104, according to the state.
A spokeswoman for the FBI declined to comment on Ohio’s updated figures. In a statement when the FBI released its report in August, Attorney General Merrick Garland said hate crimes “instill fear across entire communities and undermine the principles upon which our democracy stands.”
Ohio’s new tally of hate crimes was first provided to The Washington Post by Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism at California State University at San Bernardino, who maintains a database on hate crimes. Crow provided figures that confirmed the information.
Levin said Ohio has traditionally provided one of the most comprehensive state accountings of hate-crime data to the federal government. He said the state’s data in the FBI’S initial report was denoted as a partial accounting, which caught his attention.
If confirmed by the FBI, the total number of hate crimes in 2020 would be the most since 2001, when the agency recorded 9,730 bias attacks across the country. That year, when al- Qaeda terrorists hijacked four airplanes and attacked the World Trade Center and Pentagon on Sept. 11, the number of hate crimes against Muslims and businesses identified with the Islamic faith in the United States spiked from 28 in 2000 to 481 in 2001, a 17-fold increase.
In 1996, there were 8,759 hate crimes, the second-highest total on record, according to the FBI.