A new report from the Federal Bureau of Investigation documents more than 6,200 hate crimes reported across the United States in 2011.
Hate Crime Statistics, 2011, published by the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) program, provides data about the offenses, victims, offenders and locations of the bias-motivated incidents reported by law enforcement agencies throughout the nation.
Based on the report, 6,222 criminal incidents involving 7,254 offenses were reported in 2011 as a result of bias toward a particular race, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity/national origin, or physical or mental disability.
The report said there were 6,216 single-bias incidents, of which 46.9 percent were motivated by a racial bias, 20.8 percent were motivated by a sexual orientation bias, 19.8 percent were motivated by a religious bias and 11.6 percent were motivated by an ethnicity/national origin bias. Bias against a disability accounted for 0.9 percent of single-bias incidents.
Of the 4,623 hate crime offenses classified as crimes against persons in 2011, intimidation accounted for 45.6 percent, simple assaults for 34.5 percent, and aggravated assaults for 19.4 percent. Four murders and seven forcible rapes were reported as hate crimes.
There were 2,611 hate crime offenses classified as crimes against property. The majority of these (81.4 percent) were acts of destruction/damage/vandalism. Robbery, burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, arson, and other offenses accounted for the remaining 18.6 percent of crimes against property.
Fifty-nine percent of the 5,731 known offenders were white; 20.9 percent were black. The race was unknown for 10.8 percent, and other races accounted for the remaining known offenders.
Most hate crime incidents – 32 percent – occurred in or near homes. Eighteen percent took place on highways, roads, alleys or streets; 9.3 percent happened at schools or colleges; 5.9 percent in parking lots or garages; and 4.4 percent in churches, synagogues, or temples. The location was considered other (undesignated) or unknown for 11.3 percent of hate crime incidents. The remaining 19.1 percent of hate crime incidents took place at other specified or multiple locations.
The FBI said that, beginning in 2013, law enforcement agencies reporting hates crimes will be able to get even more specific when reporting bias motivation.
The new bias categories of gender and gender identity were added to the FBI’s hate crime data collection as a result of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr., Hate Crimes Prevention Act. Other bias types were modified to comply with the race and ethnicity designations specified by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget.
Hate crimes continue to be the highest priority of the bureau’s civil rights program because of their heinous nature and their impact on victims and communities.
The FBI said it investigates hate crimes that fall under federal jurisdiction, assist state and local authorities during their own investigations, and in some cases – with the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division – monitor developing situations to determine if federal action is appropriate.
In addition to responding to hate crimes, the FBI also is taking a proactive approach to hate crimes overall, integrating a cadre of analysts with its experienced investigators to not only establish a national threat picture but to identify risk factors that can be used by FBI field offices to assess the potential for hate crimes at the local level.
The agency reported that it is working to increase awareness of these crimes by establishing liaisons with civic and religious leaders and credible community organizations. It also is offering training to help law enforcement recognize hate crimes and assist partners in developing their own hate crimes training programs.