Annual Hate Crime Statistics Show Slight Decrease
Agencies last year reported 5,796 hate crime incidents involving 6,718 offenses.
Latest Hate Crime Statistics
Annual Report Shows Slight Decrease
The FBI has just released its hate crime statistics report for 2012, and the numbers show that we as a nation still have a way to go toward alleviating these crimes that have such a devastating impact on communities.
For the 2012 time frame, law enforcement agencies reported 5,796 hate crime incidents involving 6,718 offenses, down from 2011 figures of 6,222 incidents involving 7,254 offenses. Also during 2012, there were 7,164 hate crime victims reported (which include individuals, businesses, institutions, and society as a whole), down from 7,713 in 2011.
The data contained in Hate Crime Statistics, 2012 is a subset of the information that law enforcement submits to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program. The full hate crime report can be viewed on our website, but here are a few highlights:
- 48.3 percent of the 5,790 single-bias incidents were racially motivated, while 19.6 percent resulted from sexual orientation bias and 19 percent from religious bias.
- Of the 7,164 hate crime victims, 55.4 percent were victims of crimes against persons and 41.8 percent were victims of crimes against property. The remaining 2.8 percent were victims of crimes against society (like drug offenses, gambling, and prostitution).
- 39.6 percent of the victims of crimes against persons suffered simple assaults, while 37.5 percent were intimidated and 21.5 percent were victims of aggravated assault. (Law enforcement also reported 10 murders and 15 rapes as hate crimes.)
- An overwhelming majority—75.6 percent—of the victims of crimes against property were victimized by acts of destruction, damage, and/or vandalism.
- Of the 5,331 known offenders, 54.6 percent were white and 23.3 percent were black.
Recent Changes to Hate Crime Data Collection
Beginning in January of this year, new UCR data collection methods were enacted, allowing law enforcement to get even more specific when submitting bias motivation information. For example, as a result of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crime Prevention Act, agencies can now report on crimes motivated by “gender identity” bias and “crimes committed by, and crimes directed against, juveniles.” And a federal directive enabled our UCR Program to expand and/or modify its data collection categories for race and ethnicity. (This enhanced 2013 hate crime data will be published in 2014.)
FBI’s Role in Combating Hate Crimes
In addition to our annual hate crime report—published to help provide a more accurate accounting of the problem—the FBI is the sole investigative force for criminal violations of federal civil rights statutes. As a matter of fact, hate crime is the number one priority in our civil rights program, and we opened some 200 hate crime investigations during 2012.
But in addition to our investigations, we also work closely with our state and local partners on their investigations—offering FBI resources, forensic expertise, and experience in identifying and proving hate-based motivations. We participate in hate crime working groups around the country to help develop strategies that address local problems. And we conduct training for local law enforcement, minority and religious organizations, and community groups to reduce civil rights abuses.