Asian Americans Rarely, Though Increasingly, Face Hate Crimes

March 21, 2021 Updated: March 22, 2021

Asian Americans have increasingly become the victims of hate crimes because of their ancestry in recent years, but the incidents remain rare, according to police statistics.

There were 158 anti-Asian hate crimes reported in 2019 by police agencies to the FBI, an increase from 148 the year before.

In 16 of the country’s largest cities, there was an increase to 122 incidents in 2020 from 49 the previous year, according to an analysis by researchers from California State University (CSU) in San Bernardino (pdf). The FBI will release its 2020 data later this year.

The data has drawn media attention after a 21-year-old man killed eight people in several massage parlors in the Atlanta area on March 16; six of the victims were Asian women. Many such parlors are known to illegally offer sexual services and are most commonly staffed by Chinese immigrants, many of whom have fallen victim to human trafficking rings. Authorities said the man used to frequent some of the establishments and may have been addicted to sex. He told police he was trying to eliminate the temptation.

While the investigation hasn’t so far uncovered an anti-Asian motive on the man’s part, the establishment media has run with that narrative, connecting the attacks with anti-Chinese sentiment related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The disease is caused by a coronavirus that emerged under opaque conditions in Wuhan, China, in 2019. Its spread around the world was abetted by a coverup by China’s ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

While the CSU analysis indicates that there has been an increase in anti-Asian hate, it’s difficult to determine if this trend was seen country-wide, as police departments commonly don’t make the data readily available. The analysis doesn’t provide specific sources.

The Epoch Times attempted to verify the data for New York City and found only one incident of anti-Asian crime reported in 2019 and 27 in 2020, while CSU cited three incidents in 2019 and 28 in 2020. The university’s Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, which authored the analysis, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Based on 2019 FBI data, anti-Asian sentiments motivated about 2.2 percent of hate crimes reported. Since Asians make up about 6 percent of the population, it appears they are less likely than other races to experience hate crime—with the exception of whites.

About 45 percent of hate crimes aren’t reported to police, according to 2015 survey data by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (pdf).

Hate crimes are crimes for which authorities seek a higher penalty, alleging that the perpetrator was motivated by animus toward characteristics such as race, religion, and sexual proclivities. Hate crime charges can be difficult to bring since they depend on determining the perpetrator’s state of mind. The most common type—nearly 30 percent—is vandalism or property damage.

A significant minority of hate crimes may be hoaxes, according to a 2017 analysis by Wilfred Reilly, assistant professor at Kentucky State University.

Follow Petr on Twitter: @petrsvab