KIYC investigation finds FBI’s stats about a drop in hate crimes may not be accurate

New statistics from the FBI appear to show fewer hate crimes last year, but a Kane In Your Corner investigation found the data isn’t reliable and the number actually appears to be higher.
The call to prayer at a mosque in Paterson was disrupted this past August by two teens who threw rocks at people praying.
“I'm thankful that it wasn't worse,” said Abdul Tafur, of the Islamic Congregation of New Jersey at the time. “You've seen the recent climate in the U.S."
A Jewish cultural center in Middlesex County was evacuated in November after a threat was posted on its website. It came just after the FBI had issued a warning to synagogues and Jewish cultural centers across the state.
"Antisemitism and hate is something that is endemic to our society. But it has - in past several years and months - it's gotten worse because somehow, it's become normal," says the center’s CEO, Adam Glinn.
The FBI’s annual hate crime statistics were released Monday night. They would, at first glance, seem to tell the opposite story.
The report shows there were 7,262 hate crimes in 2021, down from 8,263 the year before. But 35% of police departments nationwide failed to report data, including police in the three largest cities: New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.
The Anti-Defamation League says there’s no reason to believe hate crimes have gone down. In fact, the group believes America may have set a new record high.
“We've been doing this since 1979, 42 years,” says Scott Richman, the Anti-Defamation League's New York and New Jersey regional director. “And in those 42 years, we had never seen as many antisemitic incidents as we accounted for. It was a full 700 more incidents than the year before.”
The FBI numbers show what would appear to be an impressive drop in hate crimes in New Jersey - from 389 to 220. But Kane In Your Corner dug deeper and found that of the 15 largest cities in the state, eight of them, including Paterson, Edison, Woodbridge, Trenton, Clifton, Cherry Hill, Brick and Camden, failed to report any data.
The numbers would also appear to show a historic drop in hate crime in New York – from 463 incidents in 2020 to just 62 last year. But the NYPD, Nassau County Police Department and Suffolk County Police Department all failed to provide numbers.
The one exception to the apparent massive undercounting of hate crime data in the tri-state area was Connecticut. All of the state’s 10 biggest cities reported numbers. As a result, the statewide total declined only slightly, from 101 to 89.
The FBI admits its numbers this year are not reliable and blames the problem on new technology.
This was the first year that all hate crimes were reported through a new computerized system and the FBI says more than a third of departments nationwide weren’t up to speed.
FBI officials also note there’s nothing they can do about this, since reporting numbers is strictly voluntary.
To see the FBI’s hate crime data for your town, CLICK HERE.
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