Reported Hate Crimes Are Down, But Are the Figures Reliable?

FBILogoThe Federal Bureau of Investigation has issued its annual study of reported hate crimes in the United States. In 2014, there 5,479 hate crime incidents reported to the federal agency by local law enforcement agencies. The good news is that the number of reported hate crimes was lower than the year before. The only exception was a rise in hate crimes directed at Muslims.

Of the reported hate crime incidents, 47 percent were motivated by race. Of these racially motivated hate crimes, African Americans were the victims in 63.5 percent of the incidents.

More than half of all known offenders in hate crime incidents in 2014 were White and 23.4 percent were Black.

It must be noted that federal hate crime statistics do not present an accurate picture of what transpires across the country. Local law enforcement agencies are not required to report hate crimes to the FBI. Only 11 percent of law enforcement agencies nationwide reported any hate crimes in 2014.

Thus, there are huge discrepancies on reporting hate crimes. For example, there were 375 hate crimes reported in Massachusetts but only one reported hate crime in Mississippi. Alabama reported nine hate crimes and Arkansas eight. North Dakota reported double the number of hate crimes than Alabama, Arkansas, and Mississippi combined.

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