In light of the start of the Dylann Roof trial in South Carolina, I thought this would be a good time to highlight the hate crime statistics from 2015, which are now up on the DOJ’s website here.
These are the stats from across jurisdictions, and are not unique to the distinctive federal statutes that cover bias-motivated crimes (e.g., 18 U.S.C. sections 245, 249). Rather, the reporting program uses incidents in which there is “sufficient evidence” that would lead a reasonable and prudent person to conclude that the offender’s actions where motivated “in whole or in part” by bias against the victim based on race, gender, gender identity, religion, disability, sexual orientation, or ethnicity. The reports include crimes against the person, against property, and against society, according to the FBI’s explanation of the methodology. Additional explanations about methodology are here.
A few numbers are especially noteworthy. The number of reported incidents was 5,850, with 7,173 victims. Of those, 3,310 were based on bias against race/ethnicity, 1,244 were based on religious bias, 1,053 based on sexual orientation, 74 based on disability, 23 based on gender, and 114 based on gender identity. There were 32 incidents involving multiple forms of bias. Of those incidents based on race, a majority were committed based on bias against African-Americans (1,745). Anti-White/Caucasian incidents were reported at 613. Of those based on religion, a majority were Anti-Jewish (664); 257 were Anti-Muslim; and 53 against Catholics, 37 against Protestants, 8 against Mormons. In the gender identity category, 73 incidents were based on bias against transgendered persons, while 41 were based on gender non-conformity.
Incidents were far more likely to be committed in a home or on a street, road, or sidewalk (2,861). Still, a substantial percentage were committed in a parking lot or garage (328) or a place of worship (259). An especially disturbing stat shows that 184 were committed at an elementary or secondary school.
Among offenses (6,885), most were instances of intimidation (1,853), simple assault (1,696), and destruction, damage, or vandalism to property (1,698). There were 882 aggravated assaults reported, 13 rapes (including both the traditional definition of rape and a revised modern definition), and 18 reports for murder or non-negligent manslaughter. Of those 18 criminal homicides, 10 were based on bias against African-Americans (9 of which were reported by South Carolina, so, attributable to the Roof case), 4 were based on Anti-Islamic bias (the only category of bias against religion that fell into the criminal homicide category), one was based on anti-gay bias, and one was based on anti-transgender bias.
Among participating jurisdictions, California reported more offenses (1,017) than any other state. New York reported 515, Massachusetts 483, Ohio 470, Michigan 373, and New Jersey 349.
There is a substantial amount of data to be found in these reports, some of it quite interesting and helpful. Of course, it cannot account for incidents that went unreported, so in that sense (as well as others) it is imperfect. And it does not break down the data based on specific hate crime statutes across the country (so, for example, are reports higher in places that have hate crime statutes like those at the federal level?). But the information remains beneficial. I will also be very interested in seeing the data from 2016.