HRC Calls On Congress To Pass Comprehensive Hate Crimes Legislation As FBI Releases Final Report Detailing Problem

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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