ADL Calls Annual FBI Hate Crime Report 'Disturbing Snapshot'; 'Swift And Effective Response' To Hate Violence Needed

New York, NY, November 14, 2011 … Reacting to the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) annual report documenting hate crimes in America, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today called the increase in criminal violence perpetrated due to hatred and bigotry a "disturbing snapshot" and emphasized the importance of providing a "swift and effective response" to hate violence.

Robert G. Sugarman, ADL National Chair, and Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued the following statement:

Enacted in 1990, the Hate Crime Statistics Act (HCSA) provides a disturbing snapshot of violent bigotry in the United States. In the past 20 years, the Act has inspired significant improvements in the response of federal and state law enforcement agencies to hate violence, and prompted numerous agencies to establish their own policies and procedures to record data.

An increase in criminal violence perpetrated due to hatred and bigotry is disturbing, especially in a year when earlier FBI reports indicated that overall violent and property crimes declined significantly. The report noted that there were 6,628 hate crimes in 2010, which included an increase in crimes against Hispanics, the LGBT community and Muslims, and a significant number of crimes against Jews and the Jewish community.

We applaud the extensive training and outreach done by the FBI and U.S. Department of Justice to implement the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act (HCPA) of 2009. These efforts, along with targeted outreach conducted by U.S. Attorneys and law enforcement organizations such as the International Association of Chiefs of Police, is helping to increase police reporting of hate crimes nationwide. The number of law enforcement agencies participating in the HCSA report increased for the fifth year in a row to an all-time high of almost 15,000 agencies.

However, it is important to note that the majority of these agencies reported that no hate crimes occurred in their jurisdiction and that the number of agencies reporting that any hate crimes occurred in their jurisdiction actually decreased from 2009. It is necessary for all agencies to participate in this vital report, and to accurately and effectively communicate the reality of hate crimes in their jurisdiction.

The HSCA report provides an opportunity to emphasize the importance of a swift and effective response to each and every bias crime. Behind this aggregated data are victims who have been intentionally subjected to violence or vandalism based solely on race, religion, sexual orientation, disability, or national origin.

The FBI annual publication, Hate Crime Statistics 2010, documented 6,628 hate crimes in 2010, which was a slight increase from the 6,604 hate crimes in 2009. Crimes directed against individuals due to race, religion, sexual orientation, and national origin increased slightly, with a significant increase in the number of anti-Islamic crimes. The report also documented 1,322 religion-based crimes in 2010, with 887 of them – about 67 percent – targeting Jews and Jewish institutions.

The largest number of law enforcement agencies (14,977) since the start of the hate crimes annual report in 1990 participated in the 2010 collection of data. Yet, only 13 percent of these participating agencies reported a single hate crime to the FBI, which was the lowest number of agencies reporting one or more hate crimes since the 2002 report. Disturbingly, thousands of law enforcement agencies nationwide did not report to the FBI, including at least three agencies in cities with populations of 250,000 or more and at least twelve agencies in cities with populations of 100,000 to 250,000. 

ADL has led federal and state advocacy efforts for improved responses to hate violence. Forty-five states and the District of Columbia have enacted hate crime statutes based on or similar to the ADL model. In 1993, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously upheld a Wisconsin hate crimes statute based on the ADL model. Currently, ADL leads a broad coalition of civil rights, education, religious, and law enforcement groups working with FBI and U.S. Department of Justice officials to implement new HCPA data collection provisions, requiring the FBI to record crimes directed at individuals because of gender and gender identity, and crimes committed by and against juveniles.

More from this Section