ATLANTA - Hate crimes in the United States have surged to a 12-year high, according to new data from the FBI. Crimes also went up significantly here in Georgia.
The FBI released new hate crime statistics for 2020.
The agency said there were only about 200 incidents here in the state.
But anti-hate organizations believes those crimes are much higher than what's being reported.
The Anti-Defamation League said there's a major problem with a lot of Georgia law enforcement agencies not reporting hate crimes. They also point out that some victims are also hesitant about coming forward. Because of those two factors, the organization says the numbers are probably much higher but this current spike is very concerning.
"The data in Georgia is pretty startling," Allison Padilla-Goodman, ADL Southern Division Vice President, said.
According to this FBI chart, the majority of 2020 hate crimes in Georgia were motivated by race and ethnicity, followed by religion and sexual orientation.
"Religion motivated crimes grew by five times, sexual orientation hate crimes grew by three times. These communities are feeling really vulnerable and impacted," Padilla-Goodman explained.
Based on information law enforcement agencies submitted to the FBI, there were 195 hate crimes last year.
That's compared to 147 crimes in 2019 and just 37 in 2018.
"83 percent of law enforcement agencies are not reporting hate crimes which means the numbers we are seeing are still not accurately reflective of what we think is happening on the ground," Padilla-Goodman told us.
She explained it's also likely not reflective because some minorities have fears about going to police with There assaults.
"We can talk about distrust of law enforcement. We can talk about language barriers."
Padilla-Goodman does admit that part of the reason hate crime numbers are high right now is because more agencies have started reporting it.
"I think ADL and others across the country have been doing law enforcement training on hate crimes to try and educate them on what is a hate crime, why does it matter, how do you investigate it, how do you report it."
FOX Five News previously told about incidents of possible hate crimes in metro Atlanta including the Asian spa shootings and the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, whose death led to the passage of Georgia's new hate crime law.
"We know that the general climate of hate right now is very intense and more amplified by the pandemic," Padilla-Goodman mentioned.
The report notes that 44 percent of crimes happened at the victim's home and nearly all incidents were directed at a person opposed to a business or religious organization.
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