The banner which was hung from the Waukesha Transit Center. It has been edited to remove a website for the neo-nazi group. (Photo | Obtained through open records requests to Waukesha PD)
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has released 2021 statistics for hate crimes nationwide. Compiled from data submitted by 11,834 law enforcement agencies, the statistics offer a snapshot of trends around the country. Last year, according to an FBI press release, law enforcement agencies submitted 7,262 incidents, and 8,673 “related offenses” they labeled motivated hate crimes.
People can be targeted for hate crimes due to their race, ethnicity, ancestry, religion, sexual orientation, disability, gender, and gender identity. Last year, 64.8% of hate crime victims were targeted because of bias against race, ethnicity and ancestry, according to FBI data. Of the more than 5,700 hate crime offenses classified as crimes against persons in 2021, 44.2% were intimidation, 35.9% were simple assault, and 18.3% were aggravated assault. Additionally, there were 13 rapes and nine murders which were reported as hate crimes. The remaining 69 hate crime offenses were classified as crimes against persons reported in other crime categories. The FBI also documented 2,606 hate crime offenses that involved property, 64.2% of which were acts of destruction, damage or vandalism. Most hate crimes were committed near homes or residences, while 17% happened near highways, roads, sidewalks or streets, 7% at garages or drop lots, 2.7% at playgrounds and other locations.
Overall, the number of reported hate crimes dropped from 2020. That year, as a pandemic swept the country and people took to the streets to protest police misconduct, there were 8,263 reported incidents. The 2021 year, however, saw a higher percentage of hate crimes involving assault. Whereas 2020 saw 27.9% of hate crimes against people involving simple assault and 17.9% involving aggravated assault, 2021 saw 35.6% of cases involving simple assault and 18.3% involving aggravated assault.
Hate crime incidents from 2017 to 2019 remained stable in the low 7000’s, peaking in 2019 with just over 7,300 incidents reported. There was also a spike between 2016 and 2017, following the election of President Donald Trump. The Trump administration was criticized for amplifying racist and anti-immigrant rhetoric.
Projecting from 2016 to 2021, there appears to have been a gradual decline in reported hate crime numbers. Since late year, however, Wisconsin has seen a rise in white supremacist-style activity from Waukesha to West Allis to Kenosha and in the Milwaukee area. It remains to be seen if these incidents indicate another rise in incidents for 2022.
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