MISSOURI – FBI analysis shows that the number of hate crimes reported to police in Missouri skyrocketed from 2020 to 2021.
The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program released its 2021 hate crime statistics this week. Nationwide, police reported that bias against ancestry, ethnicity, race, gender, gender identity, religion, and sexual orientation led to 7,762 criminal incidents and 8,673 offenses.
In Missouri, there were 194 hate crimes reported in 2021, up from 115 the year before. This is a nearly 70% increase. That’s the highest ever on record.
“This spike is alarming regardless of whether there were more incidents or because more victims were willing to report it,” Special Agent in Charge Jay Greenberg, FBI St. Louis Division, said.
More than 81% of all law enforcement agencies in Missouri reported hate crime data to the FBI, Greenberg said. With reporting still low, officials expect the number of crimes to be even higher.
“Oftentimes, leadership around the country has given a platform for things of that nature, and it is disheartening, considering what this country is supposed to stand for,” St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Wesley Bell said.
In 119 of the 194 cases that were reported, the victims were targeted because of their race, ethnicity, or ancestry.
“Whether it be the Black and brown community, Asian brothers and sisters, the Jewish community, it is discouraging,” Bell said. “But the fact that we’re seeing more people standing up against this type of hate is encouraging.”
According to the Anti-Defamation League, antisemitic incidents reached an all-time high nationally in 2021; that’s an average of more than seven incidents per day.
“A lot of the same epidemic of hate that we were dealing with, and the resulting attacks, in the wake of Rodney King in the early ‘90s, nearly 30 years later, in the wake of George Floyd, we saw that was still prevalent, and we realized that we needed to do more,” Greenberg said.
Hate Crime Incidents Reported in Missouri
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The FBI says that more than a quarter (25.1%) of all hate crimes that happened in Missouri in 2021 occurred near homes or residences. Nearly 14% took place on highways, roads, alleys, streets, and sidewalks; 9.4% in parking lots, garages, and drop lots; 6.9% occurred at schools, colleges, and universities; and 5% at places of worship. The remaining incidents happened in other specified locations or multiple locations.
There were 253 hate crime offenses recorded in Missouri in 2021, with the greatest number of crimes being simple assault (80), destruction, damage, or vandalism of property (54), intimidation (51), and aggravated assault (39).
Of the 201 known offenders tied to these crimes or incidents, 123 were racially identified as white, 42 as Black or African American, 23 were unknown, 12 had multiple identities, and 1 as Asian.
You can report a hate crime to federal authorities by calling 1-800-CALL-FBI.
Note: This story was edited on Dec. 19 with additional reporting by Stephanie Rothman.