DENVER (KDVR) — Last year was Colorado’s highest on record for hate crimes, according to recently released Federal Bureau of Investigation data.
The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program compiles reports from over 15,000 law enforcement agencies across the nation. In 2020, the program reported 7,759 bias-motivated criminal incidents and 10,532 related offenses – the highest number recorded.
Nationally, the majority 62.9% of hate crimes were racially, ethnically or ancestrally motivated.
Anti-Black or African American crimes were the largest category with 2,755, followed by anti-white with 773, anti-Jewish with 676, anti-gay (male) with 649 and anti-Hispanic or Latino crimes with 507.
Colorado’s trends match national trends.
The FBI recorded 283 hate crimes in Colorado in 2020, the highest on record and the most since 1992. These two years experienced racial unrest across the nation: George Floyd protests in 2020 and Rodney King riots in 1992.
On a monthly basis, Colorado had been experiencing a downturn in hate crimes through most of the 2010s. Numbers spiked to 25-year highs beginning in May 2019.
The annual increase in Colorado hate crimes comes largely from only a few months. The turbulent summer of 2020 set new records as racial tensions flared nationwide.
June 2020 recorded 39 hate crimes – the highest monthly total on record. Each of the following two months recorded more hate crimes than any other month in Colorado history. By December, the number of hate crimes reduced to average levels.
The record month for hate crimes prior to 2020 was March 1992 – the month Rodney King was filmed being beaten by Los Angeles police officers.
Colorado’s hate crime bias categories resemble the national picture but with some differences.
As with the U.S. total, anti-Black or African American hate crimes are the most common in Colorado. There were 96 in 2020, the second-highest year on record after 1992.
Nationally, anti-white hate crimes are the second-largest category, but in Colorado they switch rankings with anti-Hispanic or Latino hate crimes, of which there were 34 in 2020.
Anti-white and anti-Jewish hate crimes were tied for third most common in Colorado, with 23 apiece.
Anti-gay hate crimes were fourth most common with 22. Other sexual orientation and gender-related hate crimes were directly beneath in number.
Colorado’s anti-Asian hate crimes also contrasted with national numbers that showed an uptick in anti-Asian sentiment.
In 2020, Colorado had six anti-Asian hate crimes, the same as in 2019.
Neither year approached records set in the early- and mid-1990s or several years in the 2000s.