BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) – Hate crimes in the Commonwealth have increased between the years of 2019 and 2020.
On Friday the Baker-Polito administration released the 2020 Massachusetts Hate Crimes Report. The report reveals more information about the evolving nature of hate crimes in the state.
A hate crime is classified as “any criminal act to which a bias motive is evident as a contributing factor.” Law enforcement agencies, who comply with the MA Hate Crime Reporting Act of 1991, are the only agencies who can officially report a hate crime. These agencies covered approximately 95% of the state’s population to generate the data in this latest report.
The report found there were 385 reported hate crimes in the Commonwealth in 2020. This is up from 376 reported incidents in 2019. It also marks the third year in a row that reported incidents have gone up in the state after taking a dip from 427 in 2017 to 351 in 2018. 2017 was also the highest year on record since 2002.
“Over the past 19 years, the numbers and the categories of bias motivations have remained fairly consistent,” the report read. “From 2003 through 2018, the number declined to an average of about 360 incidents per year and has remained extremely consistent over this extended period.”
The most frequently reported bias motivations behind these crimes have also stayed consistent. Anti-Black bias has routinely been the most common with Anti-Gay, Anti-Semitic and Anti-White also being top motivators. The report also said the data in 2020 was more consistent than in years past.
“Our administration is proud to work with community and faith leaders, law enforcement and others to combat hate crimes and ensure the Commonwealth remains a welcoming community to everyone,” Governor Charlie Baker said. “We are proud today to endorse this updated definition of anti-Semitism to make clear that as the forms of hate and intolerance evolve, so will our efforts to respond.”
In addition, the remaining number of “non-reporting” agencies went down to 38, which is a 45.7% decrease in the last five years.