(Part-2) Hate crimes peaked in 2023. Why 'a perfect storm' might lift them.

Levin found that four of the top 10 largest cities—Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, and Austin—broke hate crime records from the early 1990s. Hate crimes in Houston increased over 200%, according to the preliminary statistics.

The survey also showed rises in San Francisco, Washington, Denver, Kansas City, Seattle, Las Vegas, Boston, and Salt Lake City.

Levin highlighted that his data is preliminary and had changed in the days after its publication when law enforcement agencies revealed new information.

The institute investigates data from a few cities because national hate crime statistics is frequently unreliable. Not all of the nation's 18,000 law enforcement agencies must provide hate crime data to the FBI, and in 2022, less than 80% did.

In October, the FBI documented 11,643 hate crimes in 2022. Levin added other datasets suggest significantly greater numbers. Between 2005 and 2019, the Bureau of Justice Statistics reported 246,900 hate crime victimizations in the U.S. 

Levin said law enforcement receives "massive underreporting" of hate crimes, especially from certain communities. He suggested the drop in anti-Asian hate crimes after a major surge during the COVID-19 outbreak may be attributed to victims not reporting.

His comment: "The numbers indicate a dip, but outreach may have been less visible than during the outbreak.  Another surge may result from 2024 elections. Levin said hate crimes have climbed every election year since the 1990s, making 2024 unlikely to be different. The national civil rights group Leadership Conference Education Fund found a "unmistakable pattern" of hate crimes rising during presidential elections and warned that "there are few – if any – signs that tensions will lessen."

Levin remarked that hate crimes rose despite a statewide reduction in violent crimes in 2022, demonstrating bias-motivated crimes. "It's so resilient that we bounce from a pandemic to a war and now an election year, it's almost like a perfect storm," said. "So I'm really concerned about that."

Watch this space for further developments.