Most Hate Crimes Not Reported to Police: BJS

U.S. residents experienced an average 250,000 hate crime victimizations annually between 2004 and 2015, the Bureau of Justice Statistics reported today. Between 2011-2015, some 54 percent of the cases were handled privately, through non-law enforcement, or were not considered important enough to report officially. In the same period, nearly half were linked to racial bias, and 17 % blamed religious bias.

U.S. residents experienced an average of 250,000 hate crime victimizations each year from 2004 to 2015 and the majority of these were not reported to police, the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) announced today. There was no statistically significant change in the rate of violent hate crime victimization (about 0.7 per 1,000 persons age 12 or older) during the 12-year period.

The findings come from BJS’s National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), which collects data on nonfatal crimes both reported and not reported to police. Hate crimes in the NCVS are defined according to the Hate Crime Statistics Act, which specifies hate crimes as those that manifest evidence of prejudice based on race, gender or gender identity, religion, disability, sexual orientation or ethnicity.

Nearly half (48 percent) of hate crime victimizations were motivated by racial bias during the five-year aggregate period from 2011 to 2015. This was down from the earlier 2003-07 period, when nearly two-thirds (62 percent) of hate crime victims perceived the victimizations to be motivated by racial bias.

During 2011-15, about a third of hate crime victims believed they were targeted because of their ethnicity (35 percent) or gender (29 percent). More than a fifth of victims believed the hate crime was motivated by bias against persons or groups with which they were associated (23 percent) or their sexual orientation (22 percent). Seventeen percent of victims perceived the hate crime was motivated by religious bias and 16 percent thought the bias against them was because of a disability.

Violent crime accounted for a higher percentage of hate (90 percent) than non-hate (25 percent) victimizations during 2011-15. The majority of hate crimes during the period were simple assault (62 percent), followed by aggravated assault (18 percent), robbery (8 percent) and theft (7 percent).

More than half (54 percent) of violent hate crime victimizations were not reported to police during 2011-15. The most common reason for not reporting violent hate crime to police was that the victimization was handled another way (44 percent), such as privately or through a non-law enforcement official, followed by not important enough to report (20 percent). Violent hate crimes reported to police (10 percent) were nearly three times less likely to result in an arrest than violent nonhate crimes reported to police (28 percent).

For both hate (1.2 per 1,000) and non-hate (24.9 per 1,000) crimes, the rates of victimization were highest in urban areas. The rate of hate crime victimization for those living in suburban areas was 0.7 per 1,000, while the rate for persons in rural areas was 0.4 per 1,000. The rate of violent hate victimization occurring in the West (1.6 per 1,000) was greater than that of any other region.

Other findings from the report:

  • The offender used hate language in almost all hate crime victimizations (99 percent).
  • In 7 percent of hate crime victimization the incident was confirmed to be a hate crime by police investigators, and in 5 percent the offender left hate symbols at the scene.
  • Males (0.9 per 1,000 persons age 12 or older) and females (0.8 per 1,000) had similar rates of violent hate crime victimization during 2011-15.
  • Hispanics (1.3 per 1,000) experienced a higher rate of violent hate victimization than non-Hispanic whites (0.7 per 1,000).
  • Young persons ages 12 to 17 had a higher rate of violent hate victimization than persons age 50 or older.
  • Persons in households in the lowest income bracket ($24,999 or less) had the highest rate of hate crime victimization when compared to all other income categories.
  • Nearly half (46 percent) of violent hate crime victimizations were committed by a stranger.

Editor’s Note: For further reading, see TCR “120 Fed Agencies Fail to Report Hate Crimes to FBI”

Summary prepared by Ted Gest, Washington Bureau Chief of The Crime Report, and president of Criminal Justice Journalists.

from https://thecrimereport.org

120 Federal Agencies Fail to Report Hate Crimes to FBI

Scores of federal law enforcement agencies are ignoring a longstanding legal mandate to submit statistics to the FBI’s national hate crimes database, calling into question the veracity of what is supposed to be the nation’s most comprehensive source of information on hate crimes.

In violation of a longstanding legal mandate, scores of federal law enforcement agencies are failing to submit statistics to the FBI’s national hate crimes database, reports ProPublica. The lack of participation by federal law enforcement represents a significant and largely unknown flaw in the database, which is supposed to be the nation’s most comprehensive source of information on hate crimes. The database is maintained by the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services Division, which uses it to tabulate the number of alleged hate crimes occurring around the nation each year.

The FBI has identified at least 120 federal agencies that aren’t uploading information to the database, according to Amy Blasher, a unit chief at the CJIS division, an arm of the bureau that is overseeing the modernization of its information systems. The federal government operates a vast array of law enforcement agencies — ranging from Customs and Border Protection to the Drug Enforcement Administration to the Amtrak Police — employing more than 120,000 law enforcement officers with arrest powers. The FBI would not say which agencies have declined to participate in the program, but the bureau’s annual tally of hate crimes statistics does not include any offenses handled by federal law enforcement. Indeed, the problem is so widespread that the FBI itself isn’t submitting the hate crimes it investigates to its own database.

from https://thecrimereport.org