According to a new federal report released on Thursday, the majority of hate crimes in the United States go unreported.
The special report on hate crimes from the Bureau of Justice Statistics studied hate crimes that took place between 2004 and 2015 and studied 250,000 hate crimes. The study found that people did not report hate crimes often either because they felt like they would not be helped or because they handled it another way.
“Many victims don’t report hate crimes because of personal and institutional reasons,” said Brian Levin, the director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, noting that some Latino respondents would not report hate crimes because of fear of deportation.
Other reasons that hate crimes go unreported included a fear or distrust of police for some communities and a fear of losing a job or being outed to family members for members of the LGBT community.
What’s more, Levin noted, the way that hate crimes data is collected is not reliable, as it often relies on voluntary submissions from police. “We have Columbus, Ohio, reporting more hate crimes than the state of Florida,” he said.
Advocates also fear that hate crimes are only rising under the Trump administration.
“I think this report shows the kind of fear that is going on in our communities,” said Patricia Montes, executive director of immigrant advocacy group Centro Presente.