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The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

Annual FBI Report Indicates Another Decrease in Hate Crimes

November 17, 2015 - Posted by Patrick McNeil

An annual report released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on Monday reveals that reported hate crime incidents decreased from 5,928 to 5,479 – the lowest number of reported hate crimes since the first year of reporting in 1991.

The report, “Hate Crime Statistics, 2014,” found that crimes against individuals based on race, religion, national origin, and sexual orientation all decreased. But it also found that crimes against transgender people tripled from 2013 – though last year was the first time data on crimes based on gender and gender identity were collected, and the reported data is preliminary.

Despite the decrease, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) notes that there is work to be done on the reporting front.

“The significant number of zero-reporting and non-participating police agencies across the country calls this welcome decrease in reported hate crimes into question,” said Marvin D. Nathan, ADL national chair, and Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO, in a statement following the report’s release. “We have been working with the FBI, the Justice Department, our hate crime coalition partners, and major law enforcement organizations to increase participation in the HCSA program, but it is clear that much more needs to be done.”

In 2014, 15,494 law enforcement agencies participated. While this is an increase from the previous year – and the highest number of participating agencies ever – only 1,666 (11 percent) of the agencies reported one or more hate crimes to the FBI.

Race-based crimes remained the most frequent, as they always have been, and crimes committed against the lesbian, gay, and bisexual communities were the second most frequent hate crime for the second year in a row.

“Hate crimes affect not only the victims who are targeted and their families, but create fear and instability throughout entire communities,” said Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), in a statement on HRC’s blog. “So much more work is needed to prevent bias-motivated violence, and far too many states still lack LGBT-inclusive hate crimes laws – a problem that HRC is committed to working with our allies to change. It’s also essential that local law enforcement fully and accurately report incidents of bias-motivated crimes to the FBI so that we truly understand the full scope of the violence.”

HRC also noted the growth of incidents targeting transgender people. The collection of anti-trans hate violence was mandated by the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Protection Act, which was passed six years ago in October.

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