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New FBI Hate Crime Statistics Released

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By Kamika Dunlap on November 24, 2009 9:15 AM

As we discussed previously, President Obama signed a new hate crimes bill last month.

The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr., Hate Crimes Prevention Act was the first expansion of federal civil rights laws since the mid-1990s. It extends federal protections to include people who are victims of violent crimes because of their sexual orientation, gender or because they are disabled.

This week, the FBI made its annual release of hate crimes statistics.

The new FBI hate crime statistics, based on 2008 data, measure the extent of bias-fueled crime across the country.

The goal is to use the data to help continue public and private efforts to address hate crimes and its underlying causes.

According to the FBI's report, the overall 2008 numbers are up slightly -- 7,783 incidents and 9,691 victims. The report breaks the hate crime offenses into two categories: crimes against people and crimes against property.

Hate Crime Statistics, 2008, includes the following key information:

  • 5,542 offenses were classified as crimes against persons. Intimidation accounted for 48.8 percent of those crimes, simple assaults for 32.1 percent, and aggravated assaults for 18.5 percent. Seven murders were reported as hate crimes.
  • 3,608 offenses were classified as crimes against property. The majority (82.3 percent) were acts of destruction/damage/vandalism. The remaining 17.7 percent consisted mainly of robbery, burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson.
  • Of the 6,927 known offenders, 61.1 percent were white, 20.2 percent were black, and 11.0 percent were of an unknown race.
  • 31.9 percent of hate crimes took place in or near homes; while 17.4 percent took place on highways, roads, alleys, or streets; 11.7 percent in schools and colleges; 6.1 percent in parking lots and garages; and 4.2 percent in churches, synagogues, or temples.

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