Hate crimes continue to rise in Spain, says interior minister
“The historical data reveals a rising trend since 2014,” Fernando Grande-Marlaska said. “What’s evident is that we’re living through a time of social tension and polarization … some ideological beliefs can incite racist or homophobic crimes, but it’s very complex.”
In 2021, police investigated 1,802 hate crimes in Spain, according to the Interior Ministry’s freshly released report on hate crimes. That is up 5.6% from 2019 – the last year the offenses were studied – and up 42% from five years ago.
Racism and xenophobia were the leading causes of hate crimes in Spain, representing 35% of the total. They surged 24% compared to 2019. Hate crimes related to gender, sexual identity and sexual orientation came in a close second, making up one-third of all cases in 2021. That is up nearly 70% from 2019.
Ideological motives, on the other hand, dropped 45% and were the third-most common cause of hate crimes in Spain. Decreased tensions in Catalonia over independence are one reason why they may have fallen.
Physical violence was the most reported type of hate crime, followed by threats, other harm, and insults. Those crimes, however, may be the tip of the iceberg. Grande-Marlaska cited research that found around 80% of hate crimes go unreported.
“That’s alarming because it means most hate crimes go unpunished,” said the Spanish interior minister. On an optimistic note, Grande-Marlaska said the resolution rate for these cases reached a historic high for Spain. Of all hate crimes reported to police, 62% were resolved — up 5% from 2019.