Anti-Asian hate crimes up by 342% in 2021, new data shows

anti asian hate
  • New York saw the highest number of anti-Asian hate crimes in 2021, according to data from the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism in California State University, San Bernardino.
  • Los Angeles surpassed other major U. S. cities in terms of overall hate crimes last year.
  • Data on anti-Asian incidents may not be representative of the whole picture, since a vast number of cases are believed to be underreported.

Anti-Asian hate crimes took a turn for the worse during the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to new data provided to NextShark.

The figures, part of an upcoming report by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism in California State University, San Bernardino, show that hate crimes targeting the Asian American community increased by 342% across eight major cities in 2021 compared to figures from the previous year.

The cities include New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Columbus, San Francisco, Denver, Cincinnati and Washington, D.C.

The surge is part of a 46% spike in all hate crimes reported in the largest U.S. cities. New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco all surpassed their 2020 records.

New York saw the largest increase in anti-Asian hate crimes, jumping from 30 in 2020 to approximately 133 in 2021 (343%). Data released by the New York Police Department last December showed a much higher increase of 361%.

San Francisco and Los Angeles saw the second and third highest numbers of anti-Asian hate crimes in 2021, having 60 and 41, respectively. Meanwhile, Washington, D.C., had the highest percentage spike at 2,200%, from one case in 2020 to approximately 23. 

Los Angeles, however, surpassed New York in terms of overall hate crimes in 2021. The so-called “City of Angels” saw a total of 615 hate crimes, while the Big Apple trailed behind with 538.

Anti-Asian attacks have been on the rise since the onset of COVID-19. Former President Donald Trump’s anti-Chinese rhetoric has been blamed for fueling such incidents, but others believe anti-Asian racism has long been embedded in American history.

Stop AAPI Hate, a national coalition that tracks anti-Asian attacks, reported a total of 10,370 incidents between March 19, 2020 and Sept. 30, 2021. However, experts suspect actual incidents are far higher due to massive underreporting, which is often attributed to language barriers, social stigma and lack of trust in the justice system.

On Jan. 30, a nationwide rally was held across six major cities to honor Asian victims of hate and violence. The demonstrations coincided with the first death anniversary of Vicha Ratanapakdee, the 84-year-old Thai man who succumbed to his injuries last year after being shoved to the ground for no apparent reason in San Francisco.

Some members of the Asian American community have criticized lenient criminal justice policies, particularly those related to incidents in which the alleged offender is revealed to have multiple criminal records. Last week, the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office was sued for allegedly mishandling an attack case.

Featured Image via Sam Cheng

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