Miami’s police chief says his agency has begun to review its reporting of hate crimes after discovering the department erroneously told the FBI that officers encountered zero such incidents in 2020, giving the appearance discriminatory attacks dropped in Florida last year, reports the Miami Herald. Officers patrolling Miami — the largest city in the country to report no hate crimes last year to the FBI, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center — actually documented seven incidents in 2020.
Police departments across Florida reported 111 hate crimes to the FBI in 2019. That figure decreased to 109 in 2020. But add in the seven incidents Miami actually recorded and FBI data would reflect an increase in Florida hate crimes last year to 116. Criminologists believe that the decrease in reporting Florida agencies suggests a fundamental problem with the way that the FBI collects hate crime data. Reporting is voluntary, meaning the FBI does not require every agency to submit data. Additionally, sharing the raw numbers without context doesn’t necessarily paint a full picture of the environment in which hate crimes are occurring.