Methodology

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The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program’s Hate Crime Statistics Program collects data regarding criminal offenses that are motivated, in whole or in part, by the offender’s bias against a race, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity/national origin, or disability and are committed against persons, property, or society. Because motivation is subjective, it is sometimes difficult to know with certainty whether a crime resulted from the offender’s bias. Moreover, the presence of bias alone does not necessarily mean that a crime can be considered a hate crime. Only when law enforcement investigation reveals sufficient evidence to lead a reasonable and prudent person to conclude that the offender’s actions were motivated, in whole or in part, by his or her bias, should an incident be reported as a hate crime.

Data collection

Incident types

The UCR Program collects data about both single-bias and multiple-bias hate crimes. A single-bias incident is defined as an incident in which one or more offense types are motivated by the same bias. A multiple-bias incident is defined as an incident in which more than one offense type occurs and at least two offense types are motivated by different biases.

Offense types

The law enforcement agencies that voluntarily participate in the Hate Crime Statistics Program collect details about an offender’s bias motivation associated with 11 offense types already being reported to the UCR Program: murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, forcible rape, aggravated assault, simple assault, and intimidation (crimes against persons); and robbery, burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, arson, and destruction/damage/vandalism (crimes against property). The law enforcement agencies that participate in the UCR Program via the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) collect data about additional offenses for crimes against persons and crimes against property. These data appear in Hate Crime Statistics in the category of other. These agencies also collect hate crime data for the category called crimes against society, which includes drug or narcotic offenses, gambling offenses, prostitution offenses, and weapon law violations. Together, the offense classification other and the crime category crimes against society include 34 Group A Offenses (not listed) that are captured in the NIBRS, which also collects the previously mentioned 11 offense categories. (The Uniform Crime Reporting Handbook, NIBRS Edition [1992], provides an explanation of the 46 Group A Offenses.)

Crimes against persons, property, or society

The UCR Program’s data collection guidelines stipulate that a hate crime may involve multiple offenses, victims, and offenders within one incident; therefore, the Hate Crime Statistics Program is incident-based. According to UCR counting guidelines:

Victims

In the UCR Program, the victim of a hate crime may be an individual, a business, an institution, or society as a whole.

Offenders

According to the UCR Program, the term known offender does not imply that the suspect’s identity is known; rather, the term indicates that some aspect of the suspect was identified, thus distinguishing the suspect from an unknown offender. Law enforcement agencies specify the number of offenders and, when possible, the race of the offender or offenders as a group.

Race/ethnicity

The UCR Program uses the following five racial designations in its Hate Crime Statistics Program: White; Black; American Indian/Alaskan Native; Asian/Pacific Islander; and Multiple Races, Group. In addition, the UCR Program uses the ethnic designations of Hispanic and Other Ethnicity/National Origin.

Data reporting

Law enforcement agencies report hate crimes brought to their attention monthly or quarterly to the FBI either directly or through their state UCR Programs. These agencies submit hate crime data in either a NIBRS submission or an electronic hate crime record layout via e-mail. Agencies may also submit hate crime data on printed forms titled the Hate Crime Incident Report and the Quarterly Hate Crime Report.

Reporting via the NIBRS

Agencies that report offense data to the FBI via the NIBRS use a data element within their reporting software to indicate whether an incident was motivated by bias. Because the NIBRS is an incident-based, comprehensive data collection system, these agencies can report considerably more information about a hate crime than that captured on the paper forms or in the current electronic record. For example, the data element that indicates bias motivation applies to 45 Group A Offenses, and agencies can report information such as the age, sex, and race of victims, offenders, and arrestees. Though the additional data collected via the NIBRS are not maintained in the hate crime database, they are available in the NIBRS Flat Files. When agencies submit a Group A Incident Report with a bias indicator of “None,” a Group B Arrest Report (because no offenses [bias-motivated or otherwise] occurred in their respective jurisdictions), or a Zero Report (because no offenses [bias-motivated or otherwise] or arrests occurred), the FBI records zero hate crime incidents for that agency for the reporting period.

Reporting via the electronic hate crime record layout

Law enforcement agencies that prefer electronic submissions but do not report via the NIBRS may use the hate crime record layout specified in the publication Hate Crime Magnetic Media Specifications for Tapes & Diskettes (January 1997 [with subsequent amendments]).

Reporting via printed forms

Agencies that use the Hate Crime Incident Report and the Quarterly Hate Crime Report forms capture the following information about each hate crime incident:

For each calendar quarter, law enforcement agencies submit a Hate Crime Incident Report for each bias-motivated incident as well as a Quarterly Hate Crime Report, which summarizes the total number of incidents reported for the quarter. Agencies may also use the Quarterly Hate Crime Report to delete any previously reported incidents that were determined through subsequent investigation not to be bias motivated. If no hate crime incidents occurred in their jurisdictions that quarter, the agencies must still submit the Quarterly Hate Crime Report to report zero hate crime incidents.

Population figures and area designations

Estimates

For the 2008 population estimates used in this report, the FBI computed individual rates of growth from one year to the next for every city/town and county using 2000 decennial population counts and 2001 through 2007 population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau. Each agency’s rates of growth were averaged; that average was then applied and added to its 2007 Census population estimate to derive the agency’s 2008 population estimate.

Universities and colleges

The figures listed for universities and colleges are student enrollments that were provided by the United States Department of Education for the 2007 school year, the most recent available. The enrollment figures include full-time and part-time students.

County designations

Based on the Office of Management and Budget’s standards for defining Metropolitan Statistical Areas, the UCR Program refers to suburban counties as metropolitan counties and to rural counties as nonmetropolitan counties.

Caution to users

Valid assessments about crime, including hate crime, are possible only with careful study and analysis of the various conditions affecting each local law enforcement jurisdiction. (See Variables Affecting Crime.) In addition, some data in this publication may not be comparable to those in prior editions of Hate Crime Statistics because of differing levels of participation from year to year. Therefore, the reader is cautioned against making simplistic comparisons between the statistical data of this program and that of others with differing methodologies or even comparing individual reporting units solely on the basis of their agency type.

Table methodology

To be included in this publication, law enforcement agencies must have submitted either of the following: 1) at least one NIBRS Group A Incident Report, a Group B Arrest Report, or a Zero Report for at least 1 month of the calendar year or 2) at least one Hate Crime Incident Report and/or a Quarterly Hate Crime Report. The published data, therefore, do not necessarily represent reports from each participating agency for 12 months or 4 quarters.

When examining the data contained in this report, data users should be aware that the first line following each table number presents that table’s unit of analysis: incident, offense, victim, or known offender. The tabular presentation that follows briefly describes the data sources and the methods used to construct Tables 1–14.

(1) Table (2) Database (3) Table Construction (4) General Comments
Participation The number of agencies includes all law enforcement agencies participating in the Hate Crime Statistics Program. This table presents the number of law enforcement agencies participating in the Hate Crime Statistics Program and their jurisdictions’ aggregate population for 2008 distributed by population group.

For the 2008 population estimates used in this report, the FBI computed individual rates of growth from one year to the next for every city/town and county using 2000 decennial population counts and 2001 through 2007 population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau. Each agency’s rates of growth were averaged; that average was then applied and added to its 2007 Census population estimate to derive the agency’s 2008 population estimate. The figures used for universities and colleges are student enrollments that were provided by the United States Department of Education for the 2007 school year, the most recent available. The enrollment figures include full-time and part-time students.
 
1 All law enforcement agencies participating in the Hate Crime Statistics Program. This table presents the number of incidents, offenses, victims, and known offenders distributed by bias motivation.  
2 All law enforcement agencies participating in the Hate Crime Statistics Program. This table presents the number of incidents, offenses, victims, and known offenders distributed by offense type. Because incidents may include more than one offense type, the column figures will not add to the total number of incidents.

Because some offenders are responsible for more than one offense type, the column figures will not add to the total number of known offenders.
3 All law enforcement agencies participating in the Hate Crime Statistics Program. This table presents the number of offenses distributed by the known offender’s race and offense type.  
4 All law enforcement agencies participating in the Hate Crime Statistics Program. This table presents the number of offenses distributed by the offense type and bias motivation.  
5 All law enforcement agencies participating in the Hate Crime Statistics Program. This table presents the number of offenses distributed by the known offender’s race and bias motivation.  
6 All law enforcement agencies participating in the Hate Crime Statistics Program. This table presents the number of offenses distributed by the victim type and offense type. The victim type Society/Public is collected only in the NIBRS.
7 All law enforcement agencies participating in the Hate Crime Statistics Program. This table presents the number of victims distributed by the offense type and bias motivation.  
8 All law enforcement agencies participating in the Hate Crime Statistics Program. This table presents the number of incidents distributed by the victim type and bias motivation. There may be only one bias motivation per offense type.
9 All law enforcement agencies participating in the Hate Crime Statistics Program. This table presents the number of known offenders distributed by the known offender’s race.  
10 All law enforcement agencies participating in the Hate Crime Statistics Program. This table presents the number of incidents distributed by bias motivation and location.  
11 All law enforcement agencies participating in the Hate Crime Statistics Program. This table presents the number of offenses distributed by the offense type and reporting state. Hawaii does not participate in the Hate Crime Statistics Program.
12 All law enforcement agencies participating in the Hate Crime Statistics Program. This table presents the total number of participating agencies, the population represented, the number of agencies that submitted data about hate crime incidents, and the number of incidents reported.

For the 2008 population estimates used in this report, the FBI computed individual rates of growth from one year to the next for every city/town and county using 2000 decennial population counts and 2001 through 2007 population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau. Each agency’s rates of growth were averaged; that average was then applied and added to its 2007 Census population estimate to derive the agency’s 2008 population estimate. The figures used for universities and colleges are student enrollments that were provided by the United States Department of Education for the 2007 school year, the most recent available. The enrollment figures include full-time and part-time students.
Hawaii does not participate in the Hate Crime Statistics Program.
13 All law enforcement agencies participating in the Hate Crime Statistics Program. This table presents the data from those agencies that reported one or more hate crime incidents occurred in their respective jurisdictions during one or more quarters in 2008.

For the 2008 population estimates used in this report, the FBI computed individual rates of growth from one year to the next for every city/town and county using 2000 decennial population counts and 2001 through 2007 population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau. Each agency’s rates of growth were averaged; that average was then applied and added to its 2007 Census population estimate to derive the agency’s 2008 population estimate. The figures used for universities and colleges are student enrollments that were provided by the United States Department of Education for the 2007 school year, the most recent available. The enrollment figures include full-time and part-time students.
Blanks in any of the four columns under Number of incidents per quarter indicate that an agency did not submit a report for that particular quarter.
14 All law enforcement agencies participating in the Hate Crime Statistics Program. This table lists the agencies that indicated that no hate crime incidents occurred in their respective jurisdictions during the quarter(s) in 2008 for which they submitted reports.

For the 2008 population estimates used in this report, the FBI computed individual rates of growth from one year to the next for every city/town and county using 2000 decennial population counts and 2001 through 2007 population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau. Each agency’s rates of growth were averaged; that average was then applied and added to its 2007 Census population estimate to derive the agency’s 2008 population estimate. The figures used for universities and colleges are student enrollments that were provided by the United States Department of Education for the 2007 school year, the most recent available. The enrollment figures include full-time and part-time students.
Blanks in any of the four columns under Zero data per quarter indicate that an agency did not submit a report for that particular quarter.

If you have questions about this 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.


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