Hate Crimes Down in 2009, But Much Work Left to Be Done
November 22, 2010 - Posted by Tyler Lewis
Reported hate crimes in 2009 fell 15 percent from 2008 to 6,604 incidents, the lowest level since 1994, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)'s annual "Hate Crimes Statistics" report released today.
Hate crimes motivated by the victim's race, religion, national origin, and sexual orientation were all down in 2009. After increasing in four of the past five years, the number of anti-Hispanic hate crimes decreased. Anti-Jewish and anti-gay hate crimes also were down.
The 2009 report reflects data from the highest number of participating law enforcement agencies (14,422) since the FBI began collecting hate crimes statistics in 1990.
Civil rights groups welcomed the declines but said more work is needed to combat hate crimes. "Working with our coalition allies and law enforcement, we will do everything possible to ensure that this is not just a temporary downturn, but a sustainable trend," said Anti-Defamation League (ADL) National Chair Robert G. Sugarman and ADL National Director Abraham H. Foxman.
With the passage of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, the FBI will begin keeping statistics on hate crimes motivated by the victim's actual or perceived gender and gender identity, as well as hate crimes committed by and against juveniles. A federal grand jury filed the first indictment under the Act earlier this month.
ADL, The Leadership Conference, and other civil rights organizations will continue to work with the bureau to implement the provisions of the Act, and ensure that the nation has the best data possible to combat hate crime violence in the United States.
"Training around the new Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act across the country provides a teachable moment to promote education and prevention initiatives," said Sugarman and Foxman.