According to crime data from the FBI for 2011, hate crimes last year fell to the lowest level they have been since 1994.
The agency recorded 6,222 criminal incidents involving 7,254 offenses in 2011 that resulted from bias toward a particular race, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity/national origin, or physical or mental disability.
Also detailed in the report:
- There were 6,216 single‑bias incidents, of which 46.9 percent were motivated by a racial bias, 20.8 percent were motivated by a sexual‑orientation bias, 19.8 percent were motivated by a religious bias, and 11.6 percent were motivated by an ethnicity/national origin bias. Bias against a disability accounted for 0.9 percent of single-bias incidents.
- Of the 4,623 hate crime offenses classified as crimes against persons in 2011, intimidation accounted for 45.6 percent, simple assaults for 34.5 percent, and aggravated assaults for 19.4 percent. Four murders and seven forcible rapes were reported as hate crimes.
- There were 2,611 hate crime offenses classified as crimes against property. The majority of these (81.4 percent) were acts of destruction/damage/vandalism. Robbery, burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, arson, and other offenses accounted for the remaining 18.6 percent of crimes against property.
- Fifty-nine percent of the 5,731 known offenders were white; 20.9 percent were black. The race was unknown for 10.8 percent, and other races accounted for the remaining known offenders.
- Most hate crime incidents (32.0 percent) occurred in or near homes. Eighteen percent took place on highways, roads, alleys, or streets; 9.3 percent happened at schools or colleges; 5.9 percent in parking lots or garages; and 4.4 percent in churches, synagogues, or temples. The location was considered other (undesignated) or unknown for 11.3 percent of hate crime incidents. The remaining 19.1 percent of hate crime incidents took place at other specified or multiple locations.
Hate crimes made up about six ten-thousandths of all crimes committed in 2011. Among religious hate crimes, the vast majority (63.2 percent or 936 victims) were committed against Jews. With fewer than 1,000 reported Jewish hate crime victims, the case can hardly be made for the Anti-Defamation League’s argument that Americans remain deeply anti-Semitic.
Curiously, despite the small number of religious hate crimes committed against Muslim Americans (only 12.5 percent or all religious hate crimes or 185 victims), the Southern Poverty Law Center doubled down following the release of the numbers, proclaiming in a headline: “FBI: Anti-Muslim Hate Crimes Remain Relatively High.”
But the SPLC also argues that the FBI numbers are inaccurate: “The FBI statistics, which are compilations of state numbers, are notoriously understated. Two Department of Justice studies have indicated that the real level of hate crimes in America is some 20-30 times the number reported in the FBI statistics.”