Hate Crimes in Alaska are Three Times the National Average in the U.S.
by carlos matías
“From 2017 to 2019, Alaska saw an increase in reported hate crimes; however, reported hate crimes for Alaska actually decreased slightly in 2020,” an authorized spokesperson for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, FBI, has informed Sol de Medianoche this November. However, the data the Federal Bureau itself manages is alarming. Last year, the average number of hate crimes, offenses and misdemeanors perpetrated in Alaska was nearly three times the U.S. national average.
“A closer examination of the data shows that hate crimes reported annually in Alaska are typically in the single digits or low double digits. These low numbers are indicative of possible underreporting of hate crimes in Alaska,” says the FBI’s official spokesperson.
The federal agency’s own data is alarming. From 2010 to 2020, this state has always remained well above the average for hate crimes committed in the United States.
If in 2010, 635.10 crimes were committed per hundred thousand inhabitants in Alaska, in the rest of the country the average was 404.5. Alaska has since shown an upward trend curve, which has reached its zenith in 2018, with 891.7 crimes per hundred thousand population, compared to 383.4 nationally. The upward trending curve in Alaska becomes a series of slight downward trending undulations across the United States, until the 2019 to 2020 period, when there was a slight uptick.
But even so, last year - the latest for which the FBI provides statistics - Alaska recorded 837.8 hate crimes per hundred thousand population, compared to the slightly “up” average for the rest of the country: 398.5.
One or more biases Hate crimes can be motivated by a single bias (against a race, ethnicity, religion, or gender, among others) or by a combination of several biases at once. The FBI reports that, according to its data referring to 2019, “there were 7,103 single bias incidents involving 8,302 crimes, 8,552 victims, and 6,268 known offenders” and that “the 211 multiple bias incidents reported in 2019 involved 257 crimes, 260 victims, and 138 known offenders.”
Regarding single bias hate crimes, “analysis of the 7,103 single bias incidents reported in 2019 revealed that “55.8% were motivated by race/ethnicity/ancestry bias; 21.4% were motivated by religious bias; 16.8% were due to sexual orientation bias; 2.8% were motivated by gender identity bias; 2.2% were motivated by disability bias; and 1% were motivated by gender bias.”
Hispanics, African Americans, and Alaska Natives among top victims In other words, more than half of the hate crimes and assaults perpetrated were motivated by bias against a race, skin color, ethnicity, or ancestry. In these crimes, collected in 2019 FBI statistical tables, those committed by “anti-black” or “anti-African American” bias, which suffered 2,391 victims, and “anti-Hispanic” or “anti-Latino” bias, with 693 victims, stand out. “Anti-Asian” hate crimes were committed against 215 victims that year, and “anti-American Indian” or “anti-Alaska Native” crimes, against 135 victims.
Alaska Hate Crimes Reporting Campaign The FBI wants to “raise public awareness of hate crimes” and “encourage reporting to law enforcement,” so the FBI Anchorage Field Office has launched a major campaign in Alaska, linked to a national awareness campaign.
“All Alaskans should be able to thrive in our communities without fear that the color of their skin, what they believe or who they love will make them a target of violence,” said Antony Jung, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Anchorage Field Office, in launching the initiative. “The FBI hopes this campaign will encourage victims and witnesses to come forward, which will strengthen our ability to solve hate crimes, bring criminals to justice and provide support to victims.”
Hate crimes are among the FBI’s highest priorities because of their devastating impact on victims’ families and communities. They are not just an attack on those victims but are intended to threaten and intimidate an entire community. The FBI defines a hate crime as a criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity. Anyone who has information or believes they are a victim of a federal hate crime should contact the FBI by phone at 1-800-CALL-FBI or online at tips.fbi.gov.
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