MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Today, following the release of the FBI 2022 Hate Crime Statistics Act report, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) once again called for action by Congress to expand prevention efforts and make hate crime reporting mandatory by law enforcement agencies across the country.
The FBI report disclosed a record 11,643 hate crime incidents in 2022, with a substantial number targeting Black people, and a historic rise in anti-Hispanic hate crimes. Meanwhile, participation in crime reporting among law enforcement agencies decreased, with only 14,660 of over 18,800 agencies actively contributing, marking the fifth consecutive year of this declining trend.
This surge in hate crimes, contrasted with diminishing law enforcement reporting, underscores an urgent need for strengthened law enforcement commitment and comprehensive legislative action to effectively combat the escalating level of hate crimes.
“Unfortunately, we cannot outlaw hate, but we can – and must – do more to support people targeted by hate violence – especially Black, Hispanic, Asian, Jewish, LGBTQ+ and immigrant communities,” said Margaret Huang, president and CEO of the Southern Poverty Law Center.
“Although the FBI’s HCSA report is the best national snapshot of hate violence in the United States, it is grievously incomplete,” Huang continued. “The lack of accurate and comprehensive national data on hate crime incidents greatly hinders our ability, as a nation, to address the root causes, design prevention strategies and provide the needed support to victims and communities. Reporting is a two-way street. Law enforcement authorities must be trained to identify, report and respond to these crimes – and communities must be reassured that it is safe to report when they are targeted by bias-motivated criminal activity.”
“We need a whole-of-community, public health approach to preventing radicalization,” Huang concluded. “The SPLC has been working in partnership with PERIL and other partners to create resources to inoculate communities against hate and extremism to build community resilience.”
The SPLC joins a broad coalition of civil rights and religious groups in calling on Congress to enact mandatory hate crime reporting legislation to ensure accurate and comprehensive data. Until this legislation can be enacted, the Department of Justice should condition federal funds on credible hate crime reporting.
This month, the SPLC launched an annual campaign designating October as Hate Crimes Awareness Month to bring more attention to the prevalence of hate crimes and press for urgent action. This effort is prompting a national conversation about how to prevent hate and foster an inclusive democracy where each of us feels safe and welcome in our communities.