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: