The Facts on Youth Hate Crime
Although there is a paucity of available data on youth hate crime, all indications are that a disproportionate number of both hate crime victims and offenders are juveniles.
According to researchers who analyzed 1995-2000 crime data from the FBI's National Incident-Based Reporting System, about 29 percent of all hate crime incidents involve offenders under the age of 18, with approximately 55 percent of all offenders aged 24 and under -- the vast majority of which are males. Individuals aged 24 and under comprised over 47 percent of all hate crimes victims. Importantly, the data documented that the majority of these crimes occur immediately after school - when many youth are unsupervised.
This study found that, like other hate crimes, the majority of youth hate violence is directed against individuals and groups because of their race - and that these victims and offenders are frequently already acquainted before the commission of a bias crime. Of the 1,567 hate crimes committed by offenders under the age of 18 in the study, 89 percent were committed against individuals (most frequently assault and intimidation) and almost 22 percent of theses crimes occurred at school or college.
According to another report, Indicators of School Crime and Safety 2003, published by BJS and the Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), , 12 percent of students aged 12-18 have been the victims of hate related words and 36 percent reported seeing hate-related graffiti while at school. To address these and other incidents of school-based violence, the Department of Health and Human Services has recently developed a Web site, http://www.stopbullyingnow.hrsa.gov/, and special resources to prevent and respond to bullying.
One essential starting point for addressing the issue of juvenile hate crime is to know the magnitude of the problem. These statistics demonstrate that there is much work left to be done.