ADL Reacts to Release of 2011 FBI Hate Crime Report » ADL Blogs
Perspectives & Information on Contemporary Civil Rights Issues
December 10, 2012 2

ADL Reacts to Release of 2011 FBI Hate Crime Report

A syn­a­gogue in Danville, Vir­ginia, was van­dal­ized in July 2011

The FBI’s 2011 Hate Crime Sta­tis­tics Act report, released today, shows a wel­come decline in the over­all num­ber of hate crimes in the United States, but sig­nif­i­cant con­cerns remain.

First, it is clear that 6,222 hate crimes – almost one every 90 min­utes of every day – is too many.  And sec­ond, a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of large city law enforce­ment agen­cies either did not par­tic­i­pate or reported zero hate crimes, which, in some cir­cum­stances, seems highly unlikely.  The FBI report is avail­able here:

The FBI has been col­lect­ing hate crime reports  from  law enforce­ment offi­cials since 1991 under the Hate Crime Sta­tis­tics Act of 1990 (HCSA).  Though clearly incom­plete, the Bureau’s annual HCSA reports pro­vide the best sin­gle national snap­shot of bias-motivated crim­i­nal activ­ity in the United States.

Here are high­lights of the 2011 FBI HCSA report:

  • Reported hate crime inci­dents decreased six per­cent from 2010 lev­els, from 6.628 to 6.222 — the low­est num­ber of reported hate crime since 1994.
  • Crimes directed against indi­vid­u­als because of race, reli­gion, and national ori­gin all decreased, but crimes based on sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion increased slightly.    Sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion hate crimes now con­sti­tute the sec­ond most fre­quent type of hate crimes, after race-based crimes.
  • Religion-based crimes decreased, from 1,322 in 2010 to 1,233 in 2011, with reported anti-Jewish crimes decreas­ing from 887 in 2010 to 771 in 2011.  How­ever, a very dis­turb­ing 63 per­cent of the reported religion-based crimes in 2011 were directed against Jews and Jew­ish insti­tu­tions – con­sis­tent with data over the past decade.  Reported crimes against Mus­lims decreased slightly, from 160 in 2010 to 157 in 2011.

Com­ple­ment­ing the national data, the annual HCSA report has become an impor­tant mea­sure of account­abil­ity about how cities and towns and their law enforce­ment agen­cies are pre­pared to address hate vio­lence.   Only 14,575 out of the approx­i­mately 18,000 law enforce­ment agen­cies in the United States par­tic­i­pated in the 2011 data col­lec­tion effort – and only 1,944 of these par­tic­i­pat­ing agen­cies (13 per­cent) – reported even a sin­gle hate crime to the FBI.   At least 79 cities over 100,000 in pop­u­la­tion either did not par­tic­i­pate in the HCSA pro­gram at all, or affir­ma­tively reported to the Bureau that they had zero (0) hate crimes.

Law enforce­ment agen­cies must demon­strate that they are ready and will­ing to respond to hate vio­lence when it occurs – and we will be work­ing with coali­tion allies and fed­eral and state offi­cials to spark nec­es­sary improve­ments in report­ing and response to this national problem.

Since the tragic mur­der of six Sikh wor­ship­pers at their Gur­d­wara in Oak Creek, Wis­con­sin on August 5, the League has been work­ing with a broad coali­tion of civil rights, reli­gious, and law enforce­ment orga­ni­za­tions to expand the HCSA cat­e­gories to include hate crimes directed against Sikhs, Hin­dus, and Arabs.  ADL also sent a let­ter to Attor­ney Gen­eral Eric H. Holder, Jr. urg­ing him to sup­port these addi­tional categories.