Following the release of the FBI’s latest Hate Crimes Statistics report, the Muslim-Jewish Advisory Council (MJAC) calls on all law enforcement agencies to transition to the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) to submit hate crimes data in order to get more specific information on each incident.

The report, which tracks hate crimes in 2021, is missing significant sources of data, including from some of the largest cities across the country such as New York City, Miami-Dade, and Los Angeles. The FBI’s collection of hate crimes data through a new system is aimed at improving accuracy, but in this transition year, not all law enforcement agencies were able to update their reporting to the NIBRS system in time. As a result, the annual FBI report grossly underreports the number of hate crimes, as participation by local law enforcement agencies in the FBI’s hate crime data collection system is not mandatory. In the FBI’s data for 2021, 11,834 law enforcement agencies submitted data, 22 percent below last year.

“Hate crimes reporting remains inconsistent across the country,” said MJAC Co-chair Farooq Kathwari. “We need all law enforcement agencies to submit accurate data to the FBI so we may know the full extent of the problem. It is disappointing to see gaps in the reporting from major cities, regardless of the reason.”

MJAC has been working for six years to strengthen the national response to hate crimes and advocated for passage of the Jabara-Heyer NO HATE Act, which improves hate crimes reporting through grants to assist state and local authorities in several ways, including trainings, reporting hotlines, public educational forums on hate crimes, and other tools. The legislation also amends the penalties for hate crimes to allow courts to require offenders to undertake educational classes or service to the victim’s community as a condition of release. The bill, an amendment to the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, was signed into law last year by President Biden.

“We welcome the new initiatives announced by the Department of Justice to address and prevent hate crimes across the United States,” said MJAC Co-chair Stan Bergman. “These initiatives represent an important step in the critically important effort to stem the rise in violence motivated by hate, but clearly more remains to be done.”

MJAC was founded in 2016 by American Jewish Committee with Muslim and Jewish community partners. The council, which has chapters throughout the U.S., has two policy objectives: to combat the rise in hate crimes and promote the important contributions of Muslims and Jews to the United States.

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