March 13, 2023 (Washington, D.C.) — Today, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) published an update to its data on hate crimes and bias incidents covering the 2021 calendar year, painting a more complete picture of how dire hate-related incidents remain in America. The new report corrects previous statistics and adds 3,587 hate crime incidents to the original 2021 data making the total 10,840. The updated report shows that hate crimes increased nationwide by 31% from 2020 to 2021, and offenses reported for 2021 were the highest on record since the FBI began collecting the information in 1995. Religiously motivated hate crime incidents increased by 28%, and hate crime incidents based on race/ethnicity/ancestry increased by 27% from 2020 to 2021.

The original report published by the FBI did not include a significant number of hate crimes because law enforcement agencies did not transition their crime reporting systems. As a result, there was a substantial undercount of hate crimes, leaving out virtually all agencies in states like California and New York, and many other major metropolitan jurisdictions. The updated report corrected this missing data by covering major law enforcement agencies in some of the most populated areas in the nation.

The Sikh Coalition, alongside other leading civil rights organizations, advocated for the FBI to collect legacy Summary Reporting System data and publish this supplemental report. We are grateful the FBI adopted those recommendations and did what was necessary so we may better compare figures to prior years. Communities can now have a better understanding of the climate of hate in our nation.

“We applaud the federal government’s efforts to correct their 2021 hate crime statistics report making that information available as quickly as they could,” said Sim J Singh Attariwala, Senior Policy and Advocacy Manager of the Sikh Coalition. “The Sikh Coalition continues to demand that all law enforcement agencies be required to provide accurate data to help drive policy forward — we cannot combat hate if we do not have an accurate picture of the problem.”

The number of anti-Sikh hate crime incidents in the updated report still shows an increase by more than double (108%) from 2020 to 2021. The update for 2021 did result in changes from the original report reflecting 185 anti-Sikh incidents, while the original figure was 214. Despite the decrease, it does not change the fact that anti-Sikh hate crimes for 2021 are the highest they have ever been and remain the second highest classification of religiously motivated hate crimes after anti-Jewish incidents. Anti-Islamic hate crimes were among the third most frequent religiously-motivated hate crimes and experienced a 38% increase from 2020 to 2021. The updated data also confirms our previously held concerns that political rhetoric and xenophobic policies have an impact on the safety of communities — Anti-Asian hate crime incidents showing an increase of 167% and Anti-Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander hate crime incidents showing a 187% increase from 2020 to 2021.

The high figures and trends are alarming and demonstrate that more must be done to combat hate. Policy developments, including the passage of the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act / Khalid-Jabara Act, which the Sikh Coalition helped pass, are a step in the right direction; however, the implementation is not rapid enough, and more must be done to combat hate quickly. Deficiencies in hate crime data lead to limited response measures. Furthermore, the FBI must make more of the legacy data publicly available for 2021 and beyond so that communities can better identify trends at a local level.

The Sikh Coalition will continue to advocate for policies and reforms aimed to combat hate crimes, bias incidents, and white supremacist violence. As always, the Sikh Coalition urges you to practice your faith fearlessly.