FBI Reports Eight Percent Increase in Hate Crimes in 2006

by Admin

Rise in Hate Crimes Based on Sexual Orientation Underscores Need for Hate Crimes Legislation to be Sent to and Signed by the President

WASHINGTON- According to a Federal Bureau of Investigation report released today, the incidence of bias motivated crimes increased by eight percent in 2006. Hate Crimes Statistics, 2006 also reports that hate crimes based on sexual orientation are the third most common type of hate crimes, behind race and religion. In 2006, hate crimes based on sexual orientation made up nearly 16 percent of all hate crimes, up from 14 percent in 2005. This information comes as Congress is set to go to conference committee on the Department of Defense Authorization bill that currently includes an amendment that would expand hate crimes protections to include crimes based on sexual orientation and gender identity and provide local law enforcement with additional resources to combat violent crimes.

�This FBI report confirms what the Human Rights Campaign has known for over a decade�that hate crimes protections for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community are long overdue,� said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. �We urge Congress to send this legislation immediately to the President�s desk, and for the President to sign it into law.�

In May of this year, the U.S. House of Representatives approved the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act in a bipartisan vote. The U.S. Senate subsequently approved attaching the Matthew Shepard Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act as an amendment to the Department of Defense Authorization bill. If signed into law, the Act would give the federal government expanded jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute violent crimes based on a person�s race, color, religion or national origin as well as their sexual orientation, gender identity, gender, and disability. It also provides assistance to local law enforcement to investigate and prosecute bias-motivated violence. Existing federal hate crimes law covers only certain hate crimes that are based on a victim�s race, color, religion and national origin.

Historical Pervasiveness of Bias-Motivated Violence

Each year the FBI releases statistics of bias-motivated crime in the United States. While thousands of crimes are reported by hundreds of jurisdictions each year, the Human Rights Campaign believes this is only a fraction of the actual number of bias-motivated crime that occur in any given year. Reporting by state and local authorities to the FBI is voluntary and many jurisdictions lack the time and training to effectively report each incident of bias-motivated violence that occurs in a year.

While the FBI statistics provide a glimpse of the pervasiveness of bias-motivated violence in the United States, these statistics should be used as a starting point, not a comprehensive number. The Human Rights Campaign compiles media reports of hate crimes throughout the United States, in 2006 alone the media reported dozens of incidents of violent, bias-motivated crime that were clearly not reflected in the FBI report. While not authoritative, the Human Rights Campaign was able to match up several jurisdictions that reported zero incidents and non-reporting jurisdictions with media reports of bias motivated violent crime towards the GLBT community.

FBI statistics show that since 1991 over 100,000 hate crime offenses have been reported, with a rise of 8% in the number of hate crimes reported in 2006. In 2006, 2,105 law enforcement agencies reported 7,722 hate crime incidents involving 9,080 offenses. This is an increase from the 2005 report in which 2,037 law enforcement agencies reported 7,163 incidents involving 8,380 offenses.

Violent crimes based on race-related bias were by far the most common, representing 51.8 percent of all offenses for 2006. Violent crimes based on religion represented 18.9 percent and ethnicity/national origin, 12.7 percent. Violent crimes based on sexual orientation constituted 15.5 percent of all hate crimes in 2006, with 1,195 reported for the year. This is an increase from the 2005 report where hate crimes based on sexual orientation totaled 14.2% of incidents reported (1,017). The FBI does not report hate crimes based on gender identity.

In contrast, the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP), a non-profit organization that tracks bias incidents against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, reported 1,393 incidents for 2006 from only 12 jurisdictions, compared to the 2,105 agencies reporting to the FBI in 2006.

The historical trend regarding hate crimes based on sexual orientation is unclear. While violent hate crimes based on sexual orientation declined from 2004 to 2005 according to both FBI statistics and the NCAVP, the NCAVP records show that one-year decline merely dropped the levels back to the pre-2003 levels. Below please find the most recent data regarding hate crimes incidents for a five year time frame.


Year
FBI statistics on incidents of sexual orientation hate crimes[1]
NCAVP statistics on incidents of anti-LGBT hate crimes*

2006

1,195

1,393

2005

1,017

1,985

2004

1,197

2,272

2003

1,239

2,051

2002

1,244

1,903

2001

1,392

1,887

2000

1,3302,135


*Each NCAVP report is a two year snapshot of a dozen or so reporting jurisdictions-for example, the 2005 numbers are paired with the 2004 numbers from the same selection of reporting jurisdictions. The NCAVP collects these statistics by gathering client data from the local anti-GLBT violence assistance programs in these jurisdictions. It is important to read the NCAVP reports not as the latest in a continuing series of linked reports, but as the latest in a series of year-to-year analyses of anti-LGBT incidents in participating regions, in part because the cities and regions represented in each year's report is slightly different.[2]

2006

1,195

1,393

2005

1,017

1,985

2004

1,197

2,272

2003

1,239

2,051

2002

1,244

1,903

2001

1,392

1,887

2000

[1] Taken from the FBI�s Uniform Crime Reporting Program publication �Crime in the United States,� editions 2000 through 2005. Available at http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/ucr.htm. Last accessed April 13, 2007.

[2] National Coalition of Anti Violence Programs� reports may be accessed at: http://www.ncavp.org/publications/NationalPubs.aspx. Last accessed November 19, 2007.

The Human Rights Campaign is America�s largest civil rights organization working to achieve gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against GLBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

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