DENVER - Hate crimes against people of Asian descent in America rose 76% in 2020, according to newly updated information from the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
ABC News reports the FBI updated its statistics after receiving new information from the state of Ohio.
In 2019, 158 hate crimes against people of Asian descent were reported to authorities throughout the United States. In 2020, that number rose to 279.
“This updated data definitely reflects what we have been seeing on the ground. Last year, in 2020, when the coronavirus epidemic hit the U.S. we definitely saw a sharp increase in the number of people reporting that they have been subjected to racial taunts, verbal harassment, online harassment, and in some instances, even assaults and property damage,” said Asian Pacific Development Center Executive Director Harry Budisidharta.
In Colorado, five hate crimes were reported against people of Asian descent in 2019. In 2020, there were six hate crime reported.
But Budisidharta said these numbers don't show the whole picture because many community members are afraid to report hate crimes.
“A lot of the fear can be traced back to people feeling that, ‘I'm not fluent in English’; ‘I'm not a U.S. citizen’; ‘I worry that law enforcement won't take me seriously’,” Budisidharta said. “They worry that this might somehow negatively impact their immigration status. There's also that feeling of hopelessness: ‘if I report what can they do anyway?’"
At the end of last year, Budisidharta expressed fears that hate crimes against people of Asian descent would rise in the U.S..
“With a lot of the xenophobic and racialized rhetoric that came from leaders at both the federal level and state level, frequent use of derogatory terms where they attempted to shift the blame to a particular country, the results of that is not surprising, because those words emboldened the racist bigots in our society,” Budisidharta said.
Budisidharta said he appreciates local and state leaders who have taken strong stances against xenophobic rhetoric and organizations that have implemented programs to fight against hate crimes.