Today, we are releasing our annual compendium of hate crime statistics, gathered from more than 12,700 law enforcement agencies representing nearly 87 percent of the U.S. population.
The results? Despite a 6.7 percent increase in reporting—the highest level since the FBI began compiling stats in 1991—total hate crime incidents increased only slightly, from 7,489 in 2003 to 7,649 in 2004. The number of actual hate crime murder victims fell significantly, from 14 to 5.
Here on this website, you can find the complete report—with detailed information on offenses, victims, offenders, location of incidents, as well as breakdowns by state and community. Also see our national press release for an overview of the results.
As you look at the numbers, we urge you to remember that behind each and every statistic is a real and often tragic story...of Americans hurt, traumatized, and sometimes killed through acts of hatred and prejudice.
Director Robert Mueller, in his 11/3 speech at an Anti-Defamation League conference in New York, told just one of these stories:
"In Oklahoma City, Aryan Nations member Sean Gillespie targeted a woman because of her religion. Unable to find her, he firebombed the Temple B'nai Israel synagogue. When he was arrested and interviewed by FBI agents, he told them he would kill blacks, Jews, abortion doctors, and homosexuals if he could get away with it."
He never got the chance, thanks to the FBI and its law enforcement partners. Gillespie was arrested in April 2004, convicted at trial, and sentenced to 39 years in prison this past August.
The FBI remains focused on aggressively investigating and preventing these heinous crimes—not only because they violate the fundamental civil rights of Americans, but also because, as the Director noted in his speech, "It is the same groups preaching hatred and intolerance here in our country that plant the seeds that grow into terrorism."
We hope that this year's report will continue to raise awareness on the seriousness and extent of hate crimes in America and thereby help prevent future bias-driven acts of violence and terrorism across our nation.