New FBI Data Shows Hate Crimes Based on Sexual Orientation On Rise
Originally printed 12/13/2012 (Issue 2050 - Between The Lines News)
For the first time, crimes directed against individuals on the basis of sexual orientation are the second most frequent hate crime committed after crimes based on race, according to the 2011 Hate Crimes statistics released Dec. 10 by the FBI as part of the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program. Surpassing crimes committed on the basis of religion, the number of reported hate crimes committed against gay men and lesbians increased from 1,277 in 2010 to 1,293 in 2011.
"The 2011 FBI hate crimes data is a sad reminder that even as we make great strides toward equality under the law, LGBT people in face dangers in America," said HRC President Chad Griffin. "We must rid our country of the violence that has devastated our community for far too long."
Hate crimes statistics are submitted to the FBI by law enforcement agencies across the country on a voluntary basis - there is no requirement under the law for agencies to submit the data. In 2011, the number of agencies reporting this data dropped to 14,575, a decrease from 14,977 the previous year. Of these data-submitting agencies, only 1,944 reported even a single hate crime to the FBI, the lowest number of agencies reporting one or more hate crimes since 2002.
Crimes reported to the FBI involve those motivated by biases based on race, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity/national origin, and disability. Currently, the FBI does not collect data on hate crimes committed on the basis of gender identity. Under the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, the FBI will begin collecting this data in 2013 and will report these statistics beginning in 2014. HRC and partner organizations have worked with the FBI to implement changes to hate crimes data collection since the passage of the Act in 2009, assisting in updating the agency's crime reporting form and training materials to include gender identity.
"We commend the FBI for recognizing the needs of transgender Americans, who face violence at alarming and disproportionate rates," added Griffin. Hate crime data will help law enforcement agencies better understand how to serve and protect the LGBT community."
Reporting hate crimes to the FBI is a criterion in HRC's new Municipal Equality Index (MEI), the first ever rating system of LGBT inclusion in municipal law, which was released in November. Such reporting demonstrates law enforcement's attention to such crimes and ensures that the larger law enforcement community is able to accurately gauge the scope of and responses to hate crimes.FBI Hate Crimes Statistics can be viewed at: http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/hate-crime/2011.
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