Hate crimes in Arizona in 2020 were the highest reported since 2001 in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, according to new FBI statistics, but advocates and experts say many more hate crimes mostly likely were unreported. According to the FBI’s voluntary Uniform Crime Report, Arizona recorded 282 hate crimes in 2020, continuing an upward trend from 2019 and registering one of the highest in the past 30 years.
Nationally, hate crimes increased to 8,263 in 2020 from 7,287 in 2019, according to the data. The rise in 2020 occurred alongside spikes in political and racial divisions in the United States, with deep conflicts over such issues as immigration, police mistreatment of people of color and COVID-19 pandemic. “When we demonize groups, unfortunately, what happens then is that some people take that as permission to go out and commit a hate crime,” said Jack McDevitt, director of the Institute for Race and Justice at Northeastern University.