FBI Hate Crime Statistics
There is an urgent national need for both a tough law enforcement response and education and programming to confront violent bigotry. Sadly, this need grows with each passing year. In the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, there has been a disturbing increase in attacks against those who appear to be Arab, Muslim, South Asian or Sikh. In response, key administration officials have spoken out against hate crimes and reached out to affected communities.
The federal government has an essential leadership role to play in confronting criminal activity motivated by prejudice and in promoting initiatives for schools and communities to address hate-related behavior.
Federal Activities and Initiatives
A bill to provide Federal assistance to States, local jurisdictions, and Indian tribes to prosecute hate crimes, and for other purposes.
Enacted in 1990, the HCSA requires the Justice Department to acquire data on crimes which "manifest prejudice based on race, religion, sexual orientation, or ethnicity" (later extended to disability) from law enforcement agencies across the country and to publish an annual summary of the findings.
This measure was passed in 1994 to increase the penalties for crimes where the victim was selected solely because of his/her race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, or disability.
In 1998, Congress passed the Violence Against Women Act, a comprehensive federal response to the increasing violence directed at women because of their gender.
In 1996, the Church Arsons Prevention Act was signed into law in response to the rash of fires at churches with predominantly African American congregations.
On June 13, 1997, President Bill Clinton issued an Executive Order establishing an Advisory Board on Race. This "Race Initiative" contributed significantly to the evolving discussion about race and bias in the nation. On November 10, 1997, the first White House Conference on Hate Crimes was convened in Washington, D.C. Several new efforts were announced at the conference including: ? Regional U.S. Attorney-led Police-Community Hate Crime Workshops (HCWGs) ? Coordinated Law Enforcement Hate Crime Training Programs ? Improved Data Collection on Hate Crimes ? DOJ/DOE Activities to Educate Youth About Hate Crimes.
The series of disturbing attacks against individuals perceived to be Arab, Muslim, South Asian, or Sikh, in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks, prompted several key administration officials - including President George W. Bush, First Lady Laura Bush, Secretary of Education Rod Paige, Attorney General John Ashcroft, FBI Director Robert Mueller, and Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Ralph Boyd, Jr. - to speak out against hate crimes. On September 26, 2001, in a meeting with Sikh leaders at the White House, President Bush pledged that "our government will do everything we can not only to bring those people to justice, but also to treat every human life as dear, and to respect the values that made our country so different and so unique. We're all Americans, bound together by common ideals and common values."
Federal Agency Programs
The Department of Justice has 10 programs that it actively employs to address hate crime violence.
FBI Hate Crimes Statistics Monitoring - Under the Hate Crimes Statistics Act (HCSA), the FBI conducts law enforcement training, and maintains an updated Hate Crime Data Collection Guidelines manual
(PDF) and a Guide for Hate Crime Data Collection
(PDF). By incorporating HCSA summary data in its annual Crime in the United States report
, the FBI demonstrates that hate crimes data collection is an important part of all FBI data collection activities. In 1997, the FBI divided its Civil Rights Unit
into a Color of Law Unit and a Hate Crime Unit.
Interoffice Collaboration - The Department's many offices have developed several versions of a hate crime curriculum for law enforcement personnel. In addition, many U.S. Attorneys have assisted in the strengthening of Hate Crime Working Groups across the country.
Public Education and Data Collection - The Community Relations Service (CRS) is the only Federal agency charged with assisting communities that are addressing intergroup disputes. In addition to its other duties in mediation and coordination, the CRS published a bulletin in 1998 entitled Hate Crime: The Violence of Intolerance. The CRS was also particularly instrumental in the hate crimes data collection process.
Technical Assistance to Law Enforcement - The Office for Victims of Crime, has developed a training curriculum for use by law enforcement officials to improve the assistance given to victims of hate crimes.
Hate Crimes Assessment and Reduction Plan - The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) began assessing the magnitude of hate crimes in 1993. OJJDP has also supported the development of a broad curriculum, Healing the Hate: A National Bias Crime Prevention Curriculum for Middle Schools.
Supported Research - The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) has funded researchers from the Center for Criminal Justice Policy Research at Northeastern University as they study the differences in hate crimes reporting rates among law enforcement agencies. Additionally, the BJS is supported in developing a bias crime component to its National Crime Victimization Survey.
Grant Initiatives - The Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) has been actively involved in funding innovative initiatives to address hate crime. In 1997, the BJA funded a National Criminal Justice Association report on Federal, State, and local response to hate crimes, A Policymakers Guide to Hate Crimes. BJA also funded an International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) 1998 national summit and awarded several 1998 grants for hate crimes education, coordination, and outreach programs. Through the National District Attorneys Association, BJA is funding crucial training for prosecutors around the nation.
Expanded Coverage of Hate Crimes - The Office on Violence Against Women oversees implementation of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and tracks the incidence of VAWA criminal provisions.
Community-Oriented Law Enforcement - The Office of Community-Oriented Policing Services (COPS) provided critical funding support for the 1998 IACP Hate Crime Summit.
The Department of Education has continued to support efforts at public outreach and education around the issue of bias-related crimes. In 1996, the Anti-Defamation League's A WORLD of DIFFERENCE? Institute received one of several national grants to help prevent and reduce the incidence of bias-related crime. The grant support assisted the ADL in its work with four high schools and their feeder elementary and middle schools in California, Nebraska, and New York.
Through the Office for Civil Rights, the DOE provided counsel in the development of a new publication, Protecting Students from Harassment and Hate Crimes: A Guide for Schools.
In 1998, Congress amended the Higher Education Act to require the Department of Education to collect information on a variety of crime categories?including acts directed at individuals because of their race, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, and disability?from the nation's 6,000 postsecondary institutions and to make the information widely available.
The recently re-authorized Elementary and Secondary Education Act (now called the No Child Left Behind Act) contains provisions on hate crime prevention training and technical assistance.
The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights consistently holds hearings and briefings on race relations and hate violence. Most recently, the Commission held community forums on suspicious church fires in six southern states.
Agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms [http://www.atf.treas.gov/] assisted in the investigation of fires at Churches with predominantly African American congregations as part of the National Church Arson Task Force. The Department has also supported an important bias crime training program through its Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC).
HUD teamed up with the National Council of Churches and the Congress of National Black Churches and Federal Emergency Management Authority
(FEMA) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (BATF) to discuss enforcement and church arson prevention. HUD also sought to expand civil penalties for hate crimes under Fair Housing Act violations.