According to a new report released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), anti-Jewish incidents in the United States increased by nearly 20% in 2021 when compared to 2020. The data

shows that local law enforcement agencies reported a total of 817 anti-Jewish criminal offenses in 2021, up from 683 in the previous year. However, the report also noted that anti-Jewish incidents declined slightly when compared to 2018 and 2019.

The report also showed that there were more than 10,800 total hate crimes, the highest number in decades. Anti-Jewish incidents remained the majority of hate crimes based on religion, comprising 1,590 out of the total number.

Although this is the second FBI report on hate crimes in 2021, the initial report did not include data from law enforcement agencies in major cities like New York and Los Angeles. The updated report was released to correct the initial undercount. The FBI has attributed the undercount to the transition to a new reporting system that resulted in an inadequate representation of bias-motivated criminal incidents in the nation.

The data also revealed significant gaps, such as data from Chicago only representing two quarters of 2021. In light of these gaps, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has called on Congress to mandate that state and local law enforcement agencies report hate crime data to the FBI in order to receive federal funding. The ADL believes that comprehensive and inclusive data is needed for policymakers to address concerning trends.

It is important to note that the data is based on criminal offenses reported to the FBI by law enforcement agencies, and not all incidents initially considered hate crimes are ultimately prosecuted that way. For example, a San Francisco man charged with brandishing a gun inside a Jewish center last month was initially charged with a hate crime, but a judge dropped the hate-crime portion during an early court hearing. Therefore, it is not clear whether such an incident would be reflected in the FBI data.

Anti-Semitic incidents have been a growing concern in recent years, with the ADL reporting an increase in incidents in their annual audit. The FBI data shows that despite a decline in anti-Jewish incidents in 2018 and 2019, there is still cause for concern due to the increase in 2021. The ADL has emphasized the importance of comprehensive data to address this issue and prevent further incidents. Photo by Shinsuke Ikegame, Wikimedia commons.