FBI Reports Spike in Hate Crimes

20 11 2007

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has reported a spike in hate crimes last year (see graph below.) But as the Associated Press notes the stats are rather incomplete:

Police across the nation reported 7,722 criminal incidents in 2006 targeting victims or property as a result of bias against a race, religion, sexual orientation, ethnic or national origin or physical or mental disability. That was up 7.8 percent from 7,163 incidents reported in 2005.

More than half the incidents were motivated by racial prejudice, but the report did not even pick up all the racially motivated incidents last year.

More importantly, all we can say is that there has been an increase in the available data, but we do not know for sure which states or cites have seen a spike and which have not. That is not to say, however, that the anecdotal evidence of a surge in hate crimes isn’t off base. But it is worth mentioning that only one city in Alabama reported any stats and that city reported only one instance. In Georgia, only three cities reported at all. More pressure needs to be applied on local and state authorities to discourage such data suppression. As for Mississippi, the Clarion Ledger put it best:

The number of hate crimes increased across the nation last year, but in Mississippi it remained the same in 2006 as it did in 2005: zero.

Plus, there are a number of victims of hate crimes who choose not to report because they fear retaliation from their community or having their immigration status revealed.


And, of course, the fact that numbers are being reported now only begs the question if the federal government intentionally delayed releasing the stats until after the march on the Justice Department took place. John Miller, FBI spokesman, of course, flatly dismissed such suggestions as “absurd.”

See what your state reported here.




2 responses

22 11 2007

The newly released FBI report shows a 7 percent increase in anti-white hate crimes and a 0.04 percent increase in anti-black hate crimes. Civil rights leaders have criticized the FBI hate crime report for
grossly underestimating the number of hate crimes. The much more comprehensive Justice Department study, also release this month, lists 190,000 hate crimes per year compared to just 7,722 hate crimes in the FBI report. The Justice Department statistics show that whites and Hispanics are more likely to be victims of hate crimes than blacks: “Per capita rates of hate crime victimization varied little by race or ethnicity: about 0.9 per 1,000 whites, 0.7 percent blacks, and 0.9 percent Hispanics.”

The Justice Department numbers reveal that whites (including Hispanics) make up only 43 percent of hate crime offenders, even though they make up nearly 80 percent of the population. It identifies 38.8 percent of hate crime offenders as black, even though blacks make up only about 12
to 13 percent of the population. By contrast, the FBI numbers identified 58.6 percent of hate crimes offenders as white and 20.6 percent of hate crime offenders as black.

24 11 2007

Is your point that whites need to be a protected group under hate crimes statues? If so, they already are.

Considering that whites make up 66 percent of the U.S. population and black folk only make up 12 percent, is the 0.9 versus the 0.7 as statistically relevant as you seem to suggest? I find that highly doubtful. See link for stats on racial make up of the United States.


Plus as I said in the post you cannot discount the fact that the deep south grossly under reported its statistics. This is especially important given that region of the country’s history of anti-black violence, and the fact that so many black folk still live there today.

In fact according to the 2000 Census a majority (54 percent) of African-Americans still live in the South. See link.

Could you please provide the link to the Justice Department study you cited?

And could you clarify the point you were trying to make in your comment? It struck as rather inconclusive.

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