For the third straight year, New Jersey has experienced a record number of reported acts of prejudice, according to a report compiled by the New Jersey State Police.

New Jersey was home to 1,871 reported bias incidents in 2021, preliminary numbers suggest. That total represents a 29% increase from the 1,447 bias incidents reported for 2020.

"New Jersey is proudly one of the most diverse states in the country, and we've made clear that hate has no home here," Gov. Phil Murphy said. "Unfortunately, we are seeing a rise in reports of bias incidents nationwide, and the Garden State is no exception."

Reported bias incidents are up by more than 400% since 2015. The total from 2019 reflected a 75% increase from 2018, and 2020's total exceeded 2019's by 45%.

New Jersey credits some of the uptick to better reporting — the state has made efforts to encourage victims to speak up, and to make it easier to file a report. But officials say the increase can also be linked with multiple social and political factors, from the COVID-19 pandemic to the Black Lives Matter movement.

"Our commitment to protecting New Jersey from acts of hatred and bias remains unshakeable," said Acting Attorney General Matthew Platkin. "This year's record-high number of reported bias incidents should serve as a reminder that we still have plenty of work to do."

According to the preliminary data, anti-Black bias continued to be the most common race motivation for reported incidents in 2021. Jewish individuals were the targets of the most religion-based incidents. The number of reported incidents associated with bias against Asian people nearly doubled from 2020 to 2021.

Incidents at least partially motivated by bias against LGBTQ+ individuals increased by 64% from 2020 to 2021, according to the data. Specifically, incidents involving anti-transgender bias were up 171%, from 17 incidents in 2020 to 46 incidents in 2021.

Dino Flammia is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at dino.flammia@townsquaremedia.com

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