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TRACKING CRIME TRENDS:
New Hate Crime Statistics Published

11/12/03

A graphic for the new hate crime statistics.Hate is an ugly word -- and the crime it spawns is even uglier, unacceptable in a democracy based on precious individual freedoms.

That's why the FBI was mandated by Congress in 1990 to compile and publish annual statistics on hate crimes. Congress said at that time: if we as a nation are to get a handle on hate crimes, we need to understand the numbers and the motivations, and we need to make a public outcry about them. Hate Crime Statistics 2002 is this year's outcry. Over 12,000 law enforcement agencies around the United States -- representing 247 million Americans -- sent in the data from their jurisdictions on acts of bias against race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and disability.

Highlights of the report.

Reported cases are down from the prior year -- 7,462 cases instead of the 9,730 reported in 2001. All but three of the 7,462 cases were single bias, broken down this way: 49%, racially motivated; 19%, on religious bias; 17% against sexual orientation; 15% against ethnicity or national origin; and .6% against mental or physical disability.

What kinds of crime?

Intimidation... destruction of property/vandalism... assault... and aggravated assault. In some cases, incidents involved more than one offense, bringing the total number of offenses in 2002 to 8,825.

What specifically motivated these offenses?

Anti-black bias (nearly 3,000 people); anti-white bias (some 875); and anti-Asian bias (263). Over 1000 people were victims of anti-Jewish bias; 170 of anti-Islamic bias. Sexual orientation bias targeted some 1,400 people. Ethnicity bias, some 1,300 -- of whom over 600 offenses were fueled by anti-Hispanic prejudice.

But we do more than just report hate crimes.

We investigate them too. As we noted last month, the FBI investigates hate crimes that violate federal laws, and we also assist our state and local partners with their cases, as needed. Our cases are focused on preventing and reacting to acts of domestic terrorism... and investigating acts of pure hate violence that violate the civil rights of Americans.

In the words of Director Mueller, "The FBI is the one federal law enforcement entity that enforces the civil rights laws, no matter where or how violations take place. It is a critical component of the FBI -- always has been and always will be."