FBI logoPost submitted by Remington Gregg, HRC Legislative Counsel

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) today released its annual Hate Crime Statistics for 2012, finding that crimes directed against individuals on the basis of sexual orientation continue to be the most frequent hate crime committed after crimes based on race. 

According to the FBI’s statistics, 1,730 law enforcement agencies reported 5,796 hate crime incidents involving 6,718 offenses.  Of those, 19.6 percent of hate crimes were motivated by sexual orientation, second to crimes motivated by racial bias.  While incidents against gay men and lesbians decreased from 1,293 in 2011 to 1,135 in 2012, the number of law enforcement agencies that participated in hate crime reporting has dropped for the third straight year, with only 13,022 agencies reporting data.  In 2011 and 2012, 14,575 and 14,977 law enforcement agencies voluntarily reported data, respectively. 

It is difficult to know the true state of hate crimes against LGBT Americans because of two significant factors.  First, under the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, the FBI only began collecting data on hate crimes committed on the basis of gender identity this year.  These statistics will be reported for the first time in next year’s report.  Second, current statistics only provide a partial snapshot of hate crimes in America until all law enforcement agencies participate. 

HRC will continue to work with law enforcement officials and the Department of Justice to press for wider reporting because it is critical to understanding the state of hate violence in America.

HRC and partner organizations have worked with the FBI since the passage of the hate crimes bill, assisting in updating the agency’s crime reporting form, training materials, and providing details on recent hate crimes when they occur. 

Filed under: Hate Crimes, Community

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