The FBI this week released the latest hate crime statistics — these are for all of 2012 — and the results will probably make you think twice. We hear so much from the radical Christian right that there’s a “War on Religion!” a “War on Christmas!,” a “War on Christians!” Well the FBI statistics don’t bear that out at all — at least when it comes to actual hate crimes.
In total, the FBI reports almost 7200 reported victims of hate crimes. Almost 7200 people in America were victims of hate crimes — and those are just the ones that got reported. For many reasons, you can bet there were a lot more.
3467 victims of racial bias, 1376 victims of sexual orientation bias, 1340 victims of religious bias, 866 victims of ethnicity/national origin bias, and 102 victims of disability bias.
Contrary to what the religious right would have you believe, almost half of all hate crimes were crimes of racial bias — not religious or sexual orientation.
The next largest category was sexual orientation, closely followed by religious bias, then ethnicity and disability. Here’s the FBI’s breakdown:
- 48.3 percent of the 5,790 single-bias incidents were racially motivated, while 19.6 percent resulted from sexual orientation bias and 19 percent from religious bias.
- Of the 7,164 hate crime victims, 55.4 percent were victims of crimes against persons and 41.8 percent were victims of crimes against property. The remaining 2.8 percent were victims of crimes against society (like drug offenses, gambling, and prostitution).
- 39.6 percent of the victims of crimes against persons suffered simple assaults, while 37.5 percent were intimidated and 21.5 percent were victims of aggravated assault. (Law enforcement also reported 10 murders and 15 rapes as hate crimes.)
- An overwhelming majority—75.6 percent—of the victims of crimes against property were victimized by acts of destruction, damage, and/or vandalism.
- Of the 5,331 known offenders, 54.6 percent were white and 23.3 percent were black.
Hidden in those numbers of religiously-motivated bias crimes is that “62.4 percent were victims of an offender’s anti-Jewish bias,” but only 9.1 percent were anti-Christian.
No hate crime is acceptable, and one person’s victimization doesn’t “beat” another’s, but it’s also important to counter the false claims from the religious right.
The FBI report 103 hate crime incidents motivated by an anti-Christian bias, and more than ten times that, 1111, motivated by an anti-LGBT bias.
It’s important to note there seems to be a total lack of coverage by the media of the 674 hate crime incidents motivated by an anti-Jewish bias, and the largest number of bias incidents were anti-Black, totaling 1805, which included 2295 people.
One final note.
First, the FBI reports a slight decrease from 2011′s numbers, but the Anti-Defamation League issued a statement that “expressed profound disappointment at the failure of more than 25 percent of the nation’s law enforcement agencies to provide the FBI with their hate crime numbers, calling the lack of participation by many jurisdictions ‘a significant setback in the progress our nation has made in hate crime data collection over the past decade.’”
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