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Hate Crimes in US At a 12-Year High in 2020: FBI Data

Attacks targeting Asian Americans in the US have risen from 158 in 2019 to 274 in 2020.

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Hate crimes in the United States reached a 12-year high with a steep rise in cases in 2020. The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) released statistics on hate crimes on 30 August. This rise was mostly accounted for by an increase in hate crimes against Asian Americans and Black people.

According to the data, 7,759 criminal incidents and 10,532 related offences were reported as being "motivated by bias toward race, ethnicity, ancestry, religion, sexual orientation, disability, gender, and gender identity." Out of which, 61.9 percent of victims were targeted because of the offenders’ race/ethnicity/ancestry bias, the FBI press release mentioned.

The data comes out at a time when the reports of Asian Americans facing bias and injustice have been widely reported especially in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic — the Atlanta killings being one of the most prominent.

As per data collected by Stop AAPI Hate, a group formed in March 2020 to counter Anti-Asian bias and report the rising xenophobic incidents, close to 3,800 racist attacks, including verbal and physical assaults, discrimination and civil rights abuses targeting Asian-Americans have been reported since the pandemic began.

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The data shows that the attacks targeting Asian Americans have risen from 158 in 2019 to 274 in 2020, Forbes reported.

An IndiaWest report states that the number of cases against Hindus, Sikhs, and Buddhists have increased whereas there is a negligible dip in attacks against Muslims. In 2020, 11 attacks against Hindu Americans were reported and 15 against Buddhists.

According to the FBI, "of the 7,426 hate crime offenses 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. Twenty-two (22) murders and 19 rapes were reported as hate crimes. The remaining 27 hate crime offenses were reported in the category of other."

It is also maintained that a large number of cases go unreported and that is difficult to prove biased hate being the only reason for an offence.

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A large number of hate crimes have been reported in the US in the past year-and-a-half, many of which have seen the pandemic as a push-cause. Crimes against Asian Americans have increased after the outbreak of the pandemic, due to the bias and stereotypical suspicion of Asians causing the pandemic and carrying the virus. An Anti-Asian Hate Crime Bill was passed in the last quarter in the US Legislature to ease the reporting process with an aim to regulate and put a check on these crimes. Inclusion of Asian American history in schools is another way states like Illinois are trying to make the biases go away.

(With inputs from Reuters, Forbes, and IndiaWest)

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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