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
kinds of crime?
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.
specifically motivated these offenses?
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