A hate crime is a traditional offense like murder, arson, or vandalism with an added element of bias. For the purposes of collecting statistics, Congress has defined a hate crime as a “criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, ethnic origin or sexual orientation.” Hate itself is not a crime—and the FBI is mindful of protecting freedom of speech and other civil liberties.
The FBI has a detailed overview online of their methodology which can be found here. It is too long to discuss in depth here but here is an excerpt from the introduction.
The Hate Crime Statistics Program of the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program collects data regarding criminal offenses that were motivated, in whole or in part, by the offender’s bias against a race, gender, gender identity, religion, disability, sexual orientation, or ethnicity, and were committed against persons, property, or society. (See below for information concerning new bias types, such as gender and gender identity, and other changes to the hate crime data collection.) Because motivation is subjective, it is sometimes difficult to know with certainty whether a crime resulted from the offender’s bias. Moreover, the presence of bias alone does not necessarily mean that a crime can be considered a hate crime.
Single bias hate crimes
Single bias hate crime statistics – Source FBI
These have been summarized for this post for reasons of brevity. A more detailed breakdown can be found here.
In 2013, there were 3,563 victims of racially motivated hate crime.
- 66.5 percent were victims of crimes motivated by their offenders’ anti-Black or African American bias.
- 21.2 percent were victims of anti-White bias.
- 4.6 percent were victims of anti-Asian bias.
- 4.5 percent were victims of anti-American Indian or Alaska Native bias.
1,461 victims were targeted due to sexual-orientation bias.
- 60.9 percent were victims of crimes motivated by their offenders’ anti-gay (male) bias.
- 22.5 percent were victims of anti-lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (mixed group) bias.
- 13.1 percent were victims of anti-lesbian bias.
There were 1,223 victims of anti-religious hate crimes.
- 60.3 percent were victims of crimes motivated by their offenders’ anti-Jewish bias.
- 13.7 percent were victims of anti-Islamic (Muslim) bias.
- 6.1 percent were victims of anti-Catholic bias.
- 4.3 percent were victims of bias against groups of individuals of varying religions (anti-multiple religions, group).
- 3.8 percent were victims of anti-Protestant bias.
The race of known hate crime offenders
In 2013 the FBI reports that there were 5814 known hate crime offenders. The breakdown of the race of these offenders is as follows.
- 52.4 percent were White.
- 24.3 percent were Black or African American.
- 7.0 percent were groups made up of individuals of various races (Group of Multiple Races).
- 0.8 percent (49 offenders) were American Indian or Alaska Native.
- 0.7 percent (40 offenders) were Asian.
- 0.1 percent (3 offenders) were Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander.
- 14.8 percent were unknown.
There are some revealing statistics here including:
1. Anti black/African American bias is significant factor in racial crimes.
2. Gay hate crimes (male) are much more prevalent than transgender, lesbian, or bisexual hate crimes.
3. Anti-Jewish hate crimes are much more common in the USA than those against Muslims.
The good news is according the FBI hate crimes are down from 2012.
It would be interesting to see a geographic breakdown of where these hate crimes are being committed.
[UPDATE]: Added a section to the post on FBI data of the race of known hate crime offenders in 2013.