The Human Rights Campaign renewed calls for Congress to
pass comprehensive hate crimes legislation following the FBI’s release
of their annual Hate Crime Statistics report. The statistics show a rise in
hate crimes against lesbian and gay Americans, reiterating the need for
including sexual orientation in federal hate crimes law, says HRC.
“These alarming statistics underscore the need to expand existing
hate crime law to allow federal resources to be made available to local law
enforcement,” said HRC Political Director Winnie Stachelberg. “Congress and
the administration can help local law enforcement battle hate crimes by
passing comprehensive hate crime legislation that protects all Americans.”
This report is a more detailed version of the FBI’s “Crime in the
United States” report released in October 2000. While no new hate crime
statistics are in this report, it does break down the October statistics
jurisdiction by jurisdiction showing which police departments, cities,
universities and counties are actually reporting hate crimes and what type.
“HRC applauds the steps the FBI has taken to make this year’s report more
user-friendly,” said Stachelberg. “The way the FBI broke down the statistics
makes it easier for everyone to get a better, more comprehensive snapshot of
hate crimes occurring in their community or state and allows for a more
thorough analysis of data.”
The report shows that as overall serious crime continued to decrease for
the eighth consecutive year, hate crimes based on sexual orientation have
continued to rise and increased 4.5 percent from 1998 to 1999. Reported hate
crime incidents based on sexual orientation have more than tripled since the
FBI began collecting statistics in 1991 – comprising 16.7 percent, or 1,317,
of all hate crimes for 1999. Hate crimes based on sexual orientation
continue to make up the third highest category after race and religion,
which make up 54.5 and 17.9 percent, respectively of the total, 7,876.
It is widely known that hate crimes based on sexual orientation are
generally underreported, and evidence indicates that FBI data fails to
include statistics on all such bias incidents. The National Coalition of
Anti-Violence Programs, a private organization that tracks bias incidents
against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people, reported 1,965
incidents in 1999 in only 25 cities/jurisdictions across the country while
the FBI collected statistics from 12,122 reporting agencies for the year.
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