NEW JERSEY (PIX11) — There were 1,871 bias incidents reported to law enforcement agencies throughout New Jersey in 2021, according to New Jersey Acting Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin.
The preliminary total number of bias incidents last year saw a 29% increase from those recorded in 2020. Last year was the third year in a row that the number of incidents in the state hit a record high.
“Unfortunately, we are seeing a rise in reports of bias incidents nationwide, and the Garden State is no exception,” New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said. “That’s why the work being done in the Attorney General’s Office to encourage people to feel comfortable reporting bias incidents to law enforcement and to address the root causes of hate is so important.”
According to Platkin’s office, the uptick in incidents likely reflects a combination of statewide improvements in reporting and community outreach and a nationwide rise in hate crimes and bias offenses.
Data showed that anti-Black and anti-Jewish biases continue to be the most common race- and religion-based motivations, respectively, for reported incidents in 2021 coming from the year before. Anti-Black bias incidents accounted for 46.9% of all reported incidents, while anti-Jewish incidents made up 18.5% of the total. In addition, anti-Asian bias incidents made up 6% of the total recorded cases.
Moreover, anti-LGBTQ bias incidents made up 19.9% of the total recorded incidents and had a 64% increase from the year before. Anti-transgender bias incidents grew from 17 cases in 2020 to 46 cases in 2021.
Last year was the first time in which the state’s police separately tracked incidents that occurred in cyberspace, which was previously classified as “other/unknown.” Around 15% of all reported incidents happened there.
New Jersey state officials enumerated how they’re responding to the increase in bias incidents in the report. They have continued efforts on combatting hate and bias among young people through the Youth Bias Task Force. Students in designated grade levels are also required by recently enacted laws to be introduced to societal contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, as well as LGBTQ+ people.
The Department of Law and Public Safety will be implementing two grant programs to mitigate the rise in bias incidents — a $750,000 grant for a public awareness campaign to encourage residents to report and recognize bias incidents and a $300,000 grant to enhance bias incident reporting.
Correction: An earlier version of this post incorrectly identified Gov. Murphy as the governor of New York.