Chicago recorded its highest number of hate crimes in nearly three decades, with the most targeted groups last year being Black and Jewish people, according to a new report set to be published in the coming weeks.
Compared to 104 hate crime reports in 2021, Chicago saw 192 reported hate crimes in 2022, an increase of 84%, according to the report from the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino
Last year’s total is the highest number of hate crimes since 1994, according to the report. The researchers did provide the yearly figures going back that far. But Sun-Times records show the second highest number reported this century was the 104 hate crimes in 2021.
The increase in Chicago was higher than the rest of the 10 largest U.S. cities by population. New York City jumped from 531 to 607 reports, and Los Angeles reported 433 hate crimes in 2021 and 609 in 2022. Only three of the 10 largest cities — Phoenix, San Antonio and San Diego — reported a decrease in hate crime reports.
Hate crimes are on the radar of the Chicago City Council, after a period of time last year saw a 71% increase of reports to the city’s Commission on Human Relations.
So far this year, 68 hate crimes have been reported to the Chicago Police Department, according to the department’s hate crime dashboard, although the California State University report uses different parameters than the police department when deciding what incidents to include in its hate crime statistics, according to professor Brian Levin, who was involved in compiling the report.
In Chicago, the most commonly targeted groups are Black and Jewish people, followed by gay people, white people and Hispanic or Latino people, according to the report.
“Nationally, FBI data over the last decade found that Blacks, Jews, Gay Males and whites reported the most hate crimes, but reporting varies widely across different groups and cities,” the report states.
Hate crime reports are closely tied to current events, and the upcoming 2024 presidential election could mean increased tensions, retired 48th Ward Ald. Harry Osterman told the Chicago Sun-Times last October, when the newspaper first reported the rise.
According to the new report, spikes in hate crime reports swiftly followed the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the 2020 murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer.
Recently, a shooting of a transgender woman in Fuller Park was being investigated by police as a possible hate crime, and shortly before that, a man was charged with a hate crime for homophobic graffiti in Jefferson Park.
Contributing: Emmanuel Camarillo