Reported bias incidents nearly quadrupled in New Jersey between 2018 and 2022, and they keep rising.
But those statistics are anything but clear.
Differing definitions, lack of coordination between federal authorities and state governments and difficulty in determining the motivation for acts of hate lie at the center of the confusion.
New Jersey has been a leader in bias and hate data collection and training since the late 1980s, said Brian Levin, founding director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University in San Bernardino. But the good intentions of a 2019 update are spiking the numbers, putting the statistics at greater odds with what federal authorities collect and clouding the issue of hate and bias.