DENVER (KDVR) — The number of hate crimes in Colorado has risen faster than the national rate, particularly when it comes to crimes motivated by a bias toward a person’s sexual orientation.
In the U.S., hate crimes began rising after hitting a low in 2015, according to Federal Bureau of Investigation records. In 2020, the number of national hate crimes reached a peak unseen since 2008.
In Colorado, the trend has been more pronounced. While sexual orientation-related hate crimes grew 6.5% from their low in 2015 to 2020 across the country, Colorado saw these crimes shoot up 380% from their low in 2018 to 2021.
It has been a record four years for Colorado hate crimes in general and sexual orientation-related hate crimes in particular. After nearly a decade of falling numbers of hate crimes, Colorado experienced a swing in reported hate crimes beginning in 2019.
The number of annual hate crimes more than doubled in 2019, from 129 the year before to 291, and has continued to rise every year since.
There were more hate crimes on record in 2021 than any year in Colorado history – 370 overall. To date, there have been 325 in 2022 making this the third worst year on record for Colorado hate crimes.
Race, ethnicity or nation of origin is the largest driver of hate crimes in the state. In any given year, racial or ethnic bias accounts for about two-thirds of the state’s hate crimes.
Bias against sexual orientation is the second-highest driver, about 17% of the state’s hate crimes on any given year.
This year has so far been the second-highest year on record for sexual orientation-motivated hate crimes. There have been 65 so far, more than any year except the last. In 2021, there were 74 sexual orientation-related hate crimes.
These crimes include anti-gay, anti-lesbian, anti-heterosexual and anti-bisexual motives.
Like hate crimes in general, crimes motivated by a bias against sexual orientation spiked in 2019 after a decade of falling. In 2019, the number of these crimes in Colorado more than doubled from 22 to 58.