FBI report on hate crimes still fails to show whole truth
By Gilda Pasion-Balan, Correspondent
LOS ANGELES – Updated figures released last month by the FBI paint an even bleaker picture of hate crimes committed against Asians and Asian-Americans including Pacific Islanders than originally thought.
Hate crimes against the community more than doubled between 2020 and 2021.
The FBI report printed in The Marshall Project – a non-profit website for independent journalism – says reported hate crimes has been growing since 2014, but “still represents a fraction of bias-related incidents,” says the report.
“Most go unreported or are not policed because hate crime laws vary across the country,” it adds.
Reported hate crimes rose by more than 11 percent in the 2020 to 2021 period, with the highest increases occurring not only among the AAPI community, but also among Sikhs and LGBTQ people.
The latest report only covers the period up to 2021 when the US and the rest of the world were in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. There was a need for an updated report because initial data was deemed severely understated because “nearly 40 percent of police agencies did not participate.”
The FBI faced harsh backlash from both Democratic and Republican lawmakers for failing to compile a more realistic figure representative of the national figure. It was noted that California and New York City, the state and city where hate crimes skyrocketed during the pandemic era, did not even provide data to the initial FBI report.
Steven Freeman, director of legal affairs at the Anti-Defamation League, said, “the updated report still raises a lot of questions about the overall credibility of the FBI’s hate crime statistics.”
He added, however, that the bothersome figures still offered “a more complete picture” of what Asian and Asian American communities, among others, continue to face.
Lawmakers in several states are also considered as playing a large role in goading some sectors of society to engage in various forms of hate crime.
For example, Texas and South Carolina have pending legislation that seeks to ban “aliens” such as Chinese, Russian, Iranian, and North Korean nationals from owning land, with lawmakers from other states mulling their own version of the proposed law.
With one of the top federal agencies unable to determine the full extent of hate crimes against vulnerable communities like Asian and Asian-Americans, the problem will not only refuse to go away, it is likely to worsen in the months and years to come.