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Hate Crimes Statistics for 2008 are Out of the Closet

Last year after the FBI released their annual Uniform Crime Report on Hate Crime Statistics for 2007, I crunched some numbers to to to give a better sense of the FBI data than the raw numbers, which can sometimes be misleading due to certain statistical factors such as the population covered by the report. I broke down the hate crimes into a rate per 1,000,000 group members to be able to see how the rates compare to each other for various sub-categories and certain crimes.

The Hate Crimes Statistics Report for 2008 has been released and I’m updating some of the tables and charts to reflect this new data. While the number of hate bias motivated (HBM) crimes increased this past year by about 2%, the total population covered by the report increased by 3.5%, meaning the rate of hate crime incidents is actually down about 1.4% over 2007. While the rate of incidents against whites, native Americans, Asian-Americans, Muslims and even Hispanics saw noticeable declines, the rates against the Jewish and the GLBT community held fairly steady (±2%) and hate crimes against the African-Americans climbed 4.5%. Details after the fold.First off, if you want to see the assumptions I’m making in analyzing the data, read last year’s Daily Kos diary on them because I don’t see the need to duplicate that here. Suffice it to say there were no strong objections to those assumptions last year (though y’all are welcome to poke holes in them this year if you like). Just to be clear, I estimated the GLBT community to be 3% of the population in the tables and graphs below, so if the GLBT community is actually larger (I personally would put the range at about 3-5% myself) the rates would be slightly lower, but based on the magnitude of incidents and offenses, it does not affect the overall conclusions unless the GLBT community is significantly larger than what is generally believed (eg. 10% or more of the population).

Next, here is some of the general numbers directly from or computed from the FBI

2008 2007 % change
Population Covered
by the report
269,382,053 260,229,972 3.52%
Total HBM Incidents 7783 7624 2.09%
HBM Incidents per 1M pop 28.89 29.30 -1.38%

I’m not going to post the raw number of incidents for each category and sub-category as you can view the FBI tables online at the website for the 2008 Hate Crimes Statistics Report.

Here is the annual breakdown of the rate of hate bias motivated incidents per 1,000,000 group members dating back to 1997:

2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 1998 1997
Anti-White 4.0 4.4 5.3 5.0 4.7 4.9 4.0 5.0 4.9 4.4 4.7 5.6
Anti-Black 79.7 76.2 77.2 81.3 82.7 82.7 79.8 96.7 99.7 105.7 113.4 120.2
Anti-Native American 29.5 34.5 34.6 45.2 43.6 40.1 30.4 38.2 26.4 21.1 24.0 15.3
Anti-Asian/Pacific Islander 11.2 15.9 15.6 18.5 20.0 23.2 21.9 29.8 31.5 35.0 38.2 45.3
Anti-Jewish 268.6 266.0 270.8 247.2 268.1 274.9 269.0 308.1 334.3 340.2 357.1 348.4
Anti-Islamic 65.0 73.7 101.9 87.1 102.3 103.1 104.5 331.5 19.7 22.9 16.2 20.9
Anti-Gay & Lesbian 156.4 159.2 152.8 135.5 152.6 169.5 166.4 189.6 179.7 186.5 192.4 163.0
Anti-Heterosexual 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.0 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1
Anti-Hispanic 13.9 15.2 15.3 14.8 13.4 13.0 14.7 19.2 18.8 16.5 18.9 19.2

In graphical form:

As you can see, the Jewish community is the sub-category that is far and away the most likely community to suffer from hate bias motived crimes followed by the GLBT community, African-American community and the Islamic community, however, this doesn’t give a complete picture of the what sort of crimes are being committed against these communities. For that, I broke down the offenses that results from the incidents and using another table from the UCR, calculated the rate of particular offenses against each sub-category. Here is a table of that breakdown with offense of statistical significance and importance:

Crimes Against Persons Crimes Against Proptery Total
Murder Aggravated Assault Simple Assault Intimidation Total Against Persons Vandalism Total Against Property Total Offenses
Anti-White 0.00 0.6 1.3 1.1 3.0 0.7 1.6 4.6
Anti-Black 0.03 10.7 16.1 34.8 61.7 28.9 32.5 94.2
Anti-Native American 0.00 2.7 10.9 4.9 18.6 7.6 13.6 32.2
Anti-Asian/Pacific Islander 0.00 1.2 3.1 3.5 8.7 3.8 4.4 13.1
Anti-Jewish 0.00 6.6 15.4 53.3 75.3 196.7 204.4 279.7
Anti-Islamic 0.00 3.1 18.6 29.7 51.4 18.6 24.7 76.1
Anti-Gay & Lesbian 0.62 28.3 61.0 51.0 142.3 39.1 53.5 195.8
Anti-Hispanic 0.00 3.9 4.7 5.4 14.0 0.0 0.1 14.0

A few things in that table should pop out at you. I’ve bolded them for emphasis. A overwhelming majority of the hate crime offense committed against the Jewish community (70+%) are acts of vandalism with intimidation most of the remaining offenses against them, but contrast that to the offense committed against the GLBT community where the rates of assault, aggravated and simple, are off the chart compared to the other sub-category communities. The rate of intimidation against the GLBT community is only marginally smaller than that of the Jewish community.

To put this in perspective, here is a graphical representation of hate crime offenses against persons for the sub-categories:

As has long be suspected, crimes against the GLBT community are much more violent compared to hate crimes against other groups. That fact that a person’s gay, lesbian, bisexual sexuality or transgender identity elicits such violent rage in those that commit these offenses underscores how important it was that Federal hate crime protections have finally been extended to include the sexual orientation and gender identity, but is also shows how much of an embarrassment it ought to be that crimes against the GLBT community have been so prevalent for so long without penalty enhancement for those offenses. Only the future will tell if the Hate Crimes Statistics report for 2009 and later will see a decline in anti-GLBT hate crimes (the newly passed Hate Crime Protection Act has been in effect less than 2 months), but the fact protection has been extended on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity sends a signal of society’s disapproval of such crimes, signals that have long been sent against offenses on other bases. It is entirely possible that with the protections being extended that the rate will actually increase as law-enforcement agencies, because of the new law, do a better job in reporting and classifying such crimes. The new law may also make members of the GLBT community feel safer in reporting such crimes to the police.

Note on the Think Progress story on this report that is making the rounds:

They stated in an article at Think Progress:

Today, the FBI released its latest annual statistics on U.S. hate crimes in 2008. Overall, “the 2008 numbers are up slightly – 7,783 incidents and 9,691 victims” were reported last year. Hate crimes based on sexual orientation had the largest increase – nearly 11 percent.

The 11 percent increase in ant-GLBT hate crimes was in the number of offenses resulting from hate crime incidents. The number of incidents went up 2.5% from 1265 to 1297, but the population figures covered in the report went up by a larger percentage, 3.5%. Thus the actual rate of incidents is just slightly down from last year; however, the number of offenses committed in those incidents went up dramatically.

Each incident can be composed of multiple offenses. For example, if a perp bashed you with a baseball bat because you are gay and steals your wallet, that consists of two offenses (aggravated assault and robbery), but only one incident. There were 1617 offenses (of which 33 were anti-heterosexual) in the 1297 incidents affecting 1706 victims in 2008 compared to 1460 offenses (27 anti-heterosexual) in the 1265 incidents affecting 1512 victims in 2007.

In terms of the types of offenses being perpetrated against the GLBT community, the rate of aggravated assaults was slightly down (30.9 to 28.3), but simple assaults and acts of intimidation were up 8% and 22% respectively. The rate of acts of vandalism were down less than 2%.

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