About Hate Crime Statistics

Download Printable Document

Background

Congress mandates the collection of hate crime data

On April 23, 1990, Congress passed the Hate Crime Statistics Act, which required the Attorney General to collect data “about crimes that manifest evidence of prejudice based on race, religion, sexual orientation, or ethnicity.” The Attorney General delegated the responsibilities of developing the procedures for implementing, collecting, and managing hate crime data to the Director of the FBI, who in turn, assigned the tasks to the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program. Under the direction of the Attorney General and with the cooperation and assistance of many local and state law enforcement agencies, the UCR Program created a hate crime data collection to comply with the congressional mandate.

The first hate crime publications

The UCR Program’s first publication on the subject was Hate Crime Statistics, 1990: A Resource Book, which was a compilation of hate crime data reported by 11 states that had collected the information under state authority in 1990 and were willing to offer their data as a prototype. The UCR Program continued to work with agencies familiar with investigating hate crimes and collecting related information so that it could develop and implement a more uniform method of data collection on a nationwide scale. Hate Crime Statistics, 1992, presented the first published data reported by law enforcement agencies across the country that participated in the UCR Hate Crime Statistics Program.

Subsequent changes to hate crime data collection

  • In September 1994, lawmakers amended the Hate Crime Statistics Act to include bias against persons with disabilities by passing the Violent Crime and Law Enforcement Act of 1994. The FBI started gathering data for the additional bias type on January 1, 1997.
  • The Church Arson Prevention Act, which was signed into law in July 1996, removed the sunset clause from the original statute and mandated that the collection of hate crime data become a permanent part of the UCR Program. (See Hate Crime Statistics Act for referenced legislation, as amended.)

Collection design

The designers of the Hate Crime Statistics Program sought to capture information about the types of bias that motivate crimes, the nature of the offenses, and some information about the victims and offenders. In creating the program, the designers recognized that hate crimes are not separate, distinct crimes; instead, they are traditional offenses motivated by the offender’s bias (for example, an offender assaults a victim because of a bias against the victim’s race). After much consideration, the developers agreed that hate crime data could be derived by capturing the additional element of bias in those offenses already being reported to the UCR Program. Attaching the collection of hate crime statistics to the established UCR data collection procedures, they concluded, would fulfill the directives of the Hate Crime Statistics Act without placing an undue additional reporting burden on law enforcement and, in time, would develop a substantial body of data about the nature and frequency of bias crimes occurring throughout the Nation.

Data provided

The hate crime data in this Web publication comprise a subset of information that law enforcement agencies submit to the UCR Program. The types of hate crimes reported to the program (i.e., the biases that motivated the crimes) are further broken down into more specific categories. As collected for each hate crime incident, the aggregate data in this report include the following: offense type, location, bias motivation, victim type, number of individual victims, number of offenders, and the race of the offenders.

  • Incidents and offenses—Crimes reported to the FBI involve those motivated by biases based on race, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity/national origin, and disability.
  • Victims—The victim of a hate crime may be an individual, a business, an institution, or society as a whole.
  • Offenders—Law enforcement specifies the number of offenders and, when possible, the race of the offender or offenders as a group.
  • Location type—Law enforcement may specify one of 25 location designations, e.g., residences or homes, schools or colleges, and parking lots or garages.
  • Hate crime by jurisdiction—Includes data about hate crimes by state and agency.

Participation

Law enforcement’s support
Law enforcement’s support and participation have been the most vital factors in moving the hate crime data collection effort from concept to reality. The International Association of Chiefs of Police, the National Sheriffs’ Association, the former UCR Data Providers’ Advisory Policy Board (which is now part of the Criminal Justice Information Services Advisory Policy Board), the International Association of Directors of Law Enforcement Standards and Training, and the Association of State UCR Programs all have endorsed the UCR Program’s Hate Crime Statistics Program. In addition to this support, thousands of law enforcement agencies nationwide make crucial contributions to the program’s success as the officers within these agencies investigate offenses and report as known hate crimes those they determine were motivated by biases.

Agencies contributing data

Agencies that participated in the Hate Crime Statistics Program in 2008 represented over 269 million inhabitants, or 88.6 percent of the Nation’s population, and their jurisdictions covered 49 states and the District of Columbia. (See Table 12.) The following table presents the number of agencies that participated in hate crime reporting in 2008 by population group and the population covered collectively by those agencies within each group.

Number of Participating Agencies and Population Covered by Population Group, 2008

Population Group Agencies participating in UCR hate crime reporting
Number of participating agencies Population Covered
Total 13,690 269,382,053
Group I
(Cities 250,000 and over)
71 53,812,759
Group II
(Cities 100,000 - 249,999)
187 27,423,972
Group III
(Cities 50,000 - 99,999)
438 29,876,861
Group IV
(Cities 25,000 - 49,999)
764 26,228,269
Group V
(Cities 10,000 - 24,999)
1,620 25,747,291
Group VI1
(Cities under 10,000)
7,047 21,815,618
Metropolitan
Counties1
1,418 60,829,830
Nonmetropolitan
Counties1
2,145 23,647,453

1 Includes universities and colleges, state police agencies, and/or other agencies to which no population is attributed.

What do you think?

The E-Government Act of 2002 promotes more efficient uses of information technology by the federal government. This report is a product of the FBI’s effort to publish its statistics using twenty-first century technology and, as a result, reach a larger audience more efficiently. The FBI welcomes your feedback about this electronic report via a short evaluation form. Your comments will help us improve the presentation of future releases of Hate Crime Statistics.

What you won't find on this page:

Raw data. The data presented in Hate Crime Statistics provides information about bias-motivated crimes in the United States broken down by state and by local agency. More detailed data (e.g., the subcategory breakdowns of bias motivations, the known offenders’ races, and the victim types for each agency submitting hate crime data to the national Program) are furnished in the UCR Program’s Hate Crime Master Files. For more information, contact the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services Division via e-mail at cjis_comm@leo.gov or by telephone at (304) 625-4995.

Hate crime data for 2009. Hate Crime Statistics, 2009, will be published on the Web in the fall of 2010.

If you have questions about the data in this publication

Contact the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services Division via e-mail at cjis_comm@leo.gov or by telephone at (304) 625-4995.