Alarming Rates of Hate Crimes Reported by FBI

Sexual orientation-based bias crime is now the second
highest category of hate crime offenses in the United States, according
to new information from the FBI. Previously the third category behind
race and religion, 1,430 hate crime offenses based on sexual orientation
were reported in 2003. Six murders were reported based on sexual
orientation – the highest category followed closely by four murders
based on race bias.

"Hate crime continues to be a national scourge," said Human
Rights Campaign President Cheryl Jacques. "The current federal hate
crimes statute needs to be strengthened immediately to give law
enforcement the tools they need to combat these crimes."

According to the FBI report "Hate Crime Statistics | 2003,"
8,715 criminal offenses were identified as being motivated by hate.
1,430 of these offenses – or 16.4% – were crimes based on the victim's
actual or perceived sexual orientation. Offenses based on race account
for the highest category of bias crime at 52.5%. The third highest
category is crimes based on religion – also at approximately 16.4%.

"The new statistics only offer a glimpse of the problem," said
Jacques. "Reporting these crimes is voluntary for local jurisdictions
and hate crimes often go unreported by victims due to fear and
stigmatization."

The data also does not track crimes based on bias against
transgender people. November 20th marked the Sixth Annual Transgender
Day of Remembrance where our community mourned the loss of 21
transgender individuals to hate violence over the past year.

This summer, the U.S. Senate amended the defense authorization
bill to include a strong hate crimes measure – the Local Law Enforcement
Enhancement Act – on a bipartisan vote of 65-33 with 18 Republicans
voting in favor. On a procedural vote in September, the House voted in
favor of keeping the hate crimes measure in the defense authorization
bill by a bipartisan vote of 213-186. However, the provision was
stripped in conference committee.

"This new data confirms that hate motivated crimes remain a
problem of critical national importance," said Jacques. "And still –
despite widespread support among law enforcement, the American people
and members of Congress from both parties – a few Congressional leaders
consistently block common-sense responses to this problem."

LLEEA is endorsed by more than 175 law enforcement, civil
rights, civic and religious organizations, including: the National
Sheriffs' Association, International Association of Chiefs of Police,
U.S. Conference of Mayors, Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association
and many others.

Of the hate crimes motivated by sexual orientation violence:
61.6% were committed due to anti-male homosexual bias; 21.3% were due to
an anti-homosexual bias; 15.4% were committed due to anti-female
homosexual bias; 1.0% were committed due to anti-heterosexual bias; 0.6%
were motivated by anti-bisexual bias.

The entire report is available at www.fbi.gov.

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