According to a recent article posted on the FBI’s website “the number of hate crime incidents reported to the FBI increased about 17 percent in 2017 compared with the previous year, according to the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program’s annual Hate Crime Statistics report.”
The report, Hate Crime Statistics, 2017, includes hate crime information is broken down by location, offenders, bias types, and victims. The FBI notes, “the most common bias categories in single-bias incidents were race/ethnicity/ancestry (59.6) percent, religion (20.6 percent), and sexual orientation (15.8 percent). In addition to the 7,106 single-bias incidents reported last year, there were also 69 multiple-bias hate crimes reported.”
The report relies on local law enforcement jurisdictions to report hate crimes to the UCR. The report indicates, “law enforcement reported 7,175 hate crimes to UCR in 2017, up from 6,121 in 2016. Although the numbers increased last year, so did the number of law enforcement agencies reporting hate crime data—with approximately 1,000 additional agencies contributing information.”
While these types of crimes are on the rise, organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center believes that hate crimes are still being under-counted. In a recent newsletter from the nonprofit, they indicate, “The fact is, the vast majority of hate crimes don’t get counted. The Bureau of Justice Statistics estimates there are about 250,000 each year. There are several reasons for the vast discrepancy. First, studies show that only about half of all hate crimes get reported to the police. Second, the FBI relies on some 18,000 local enforcement agencies to forward their data to the federal government. Since the system is voluntary, many don’t do it. And many that do provide the data simply don’t properly identify hate crimes in the first place. In addition, the definition of a hate crime varies from state to state.”
For more in-depth information about hate crimes and hate groups active in the United States, check out the Southern Poverty Law Center’s hate map.