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U.S. hate crimes

U.S. hate crimes statistics

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Some facts about hate crimes:

bullet The National Education Association states: "Whereas ordinary crimes are generally committed by people with whom the victims are familiar, hate crimes and acts of violence are overwhelmingly committed by strangers" 1
bullet The main targets of hate crimes are not the immediate victim, but an entire community of which the victim is a member.
bullet Most perpetrators of hate crimes are under the age of 20.
bullet The FBI has reported on U.S. hate crimes during 1995 to 2007: 2,3
Basis of crime 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999
 Total hate/bias crimes 7,947 8,759 8,049 9,235 7,876
Race 61% 62% 59% 58% 55%
Religion 16% 16% 17% 16% 18%
Sexual orientation 13% 12% 14% 15% 17%
Ethnicity / National origin 10% 11% 10% 10% 13%
Disability - - 0.15% 0.3% 0.3%
Multiple bases  - 0.07% 0.05% .05% 0.1%
Basis of crime 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004
Total hate/bias crimes 9,562 9,730 7,462 7,489 7,649
Race 54% 45% 49% 51% 53%
Religion 16% 19% 19% 18% 18%
Sexual orientation 16% 14% 17% 17% 16%
Ethnicity / National origin 12% 22% 15% 14% 13%
Disability 0.4% 0.4% 0.6% 0.4% 0.7%
Multiple bases 0.08% 0.09% 0.04% 0.05% 0.09%


Basis of crime 2005 2006 2007
Total hate/bias crimes 7,163 7,722 7,624
Race 56% 52% 51%
Religion 16% 19% 18%
Sexual orientation 14% 15% 17%
Ethnicity / National origin 14% 13% 13%
Disability 0.6% 1.0% 1.0%
Multiple bases 0.04% 0.03% 0.04%
bullet Among the 2007 hate crimes motivated by sexual orientation:
bullet 59% of the offenses victimized gay males;
bullet 13% victimized lesbians
bullet 25% were reported as anti-homosexual without identifying the sex of the victim.
bullet 1.8% were anti-heterosexual
bullet 1.6% were anti-bisexual.
bullet The FBI reports on hate-crime statistics by year at:
bullet 2008 data is expected to be released during 2009-OCT.

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bullet The percentage of hate crimes based on:
bullet Race appears to to have been in a steady, though slow, decline during the 1990s, and a gradual increase since 2001. The overwhelming number of victims are black (2,630 out of 3,919 incidents during 2005).
bullet Religion appears to have been rising during the latter years of the 20th century, reached a peak during 2001/2002, and perhaps declining since. However, attacks on Muslims -- and on persons mistaken for Muslims (e.g. Sikhs, Hindus, Coptic Christians etc.) may have gone up slightly after the terrorist attacks on New York City and the Pentagon. An increase is shown in the data, but it is not statistically significant.
bullet Sexual orientation appears to be relatively stable. Some expect it to increase over time in response to gays and lesbians obtaining rights equal to the rest of the population including the right to marry in some states.
bullet Most hate crime incidents are probably not reported to the police. This may well be particularly the case for assaults on homosexuals. Some victims of gay bashing do not report the crime because they are still "in the closet."
bullet Some police forces do not transmit their hate crime statistics to the FBI.
bullet The Southern Poverty Law Center said that attacks against gays tend to be more severe than those against other minority groups. They recorded 21 gays and lesbians killed during 1996 because of their sexual orientation. 4
bullet Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) writes: "Most anti-gay hate crime perpetrators perceive gay bashing to be socially sanctioned and, therefore, acceptable behavior." 5
bullet The total annual number of hate crimes in the U.S. reported to the FBI increased during the 1990s and decreased in the early 2000s. However, there is some indication that they may be on the rise again.
bullet PFLAG publishes a Hate Crimes Information Packet. It contains information on the Hate Crimes Prevention Act, hate crimes statistics and research, etc. 6


The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. "Hate motivated crime and violence: Information for schools, communities, & families," National Education Association at:
  2. "Uniform Crime Reports, FBI, at:
  3. "Crime in the United States, 2000," FBI press release, 2001-OCT-22, at:
  4. Quoted in: Sam Fulwood III, "Just what is a hate crime?," Los Angeles Times, at:
  5. "General talking points on anti-gay hate crime," PFLAG Action Alert, at:
  6. "General talking points on anti-gay hate crime," PFLAG Action Alert, at:

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Copyright 1999 to 2009 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2009-JUL-22
Author: B.A. Robinson

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