New York, NY, November 22, 2010 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today welcomed a substantial drop in the number of hate crimes documented by a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) report, but expressed disappointment that more than 60 U.S. cities with 100,000-plus populations still did not participate in the annual study.
The FBI's 2009 report documenting hate crimes in America demonstrated a 15 percent decrease from 2008, including a decrease in the number of bias crimes committed based on racial, religious, national origin and sexual orientation.
Robert G. Sugarman, ADL National Chair, and Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued the following statement:
We welcome the fact that the FBI's report contains both the lowest hate crime totals since 1994 and the largest number of reporting law enforcement agencies ever. Working with our coalition allies and law enforcement, we will do everything possible to ensure that this is not just a temporary downturn, but a sustainable trend.
However, violent bigotry is still disturbingly prevalent in America and we are deeply disappointed that over 60 cities nationwide with over 100,000 residents either did not participate in the data collection effort or reported figures that appear not credible.
A victim of hate violence is much less likely to report the crime to a police department if he or she does not believe the crime will be treated with the seriousness it merits. American communities have learned the hard way that failure to address bias crimes can cause an isolated incident to fester and result in widespread tension.
Training around the new Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act across the country provides a teachable moment to promote education and prevention initiatives.
The 2009 FBI hate crime data documented 6,604 hate crimes in 2009 – the lowest total since 1994 and a fifteen percent decrease over the 7,783 hate crimes reported in 2008. In 2009, 1,303 religion-based crimes were reported to the FBI, with 71 percent directed against Jews and Jewish institutions.
The FBI's annual report, mandated by the Hate Crime Statistics Act of 1990, has become the single most important national source of information about the problem of hate violence in America and an essential resource for criminologists, policymakers and analysts.
ADL is now working with a coalition of religious, civil rights, education and law enforcement organizations to implement the new hate crime data collection provisions of the HCPA – under which, for the first time, the FBI will begin collecting data on crimes directed at individuals because of gender and gender identity – and crimes committed by and against juveniles.
ADL has led federal and state advocacy efforts for improved responses to hate violence. Forty-five states and theDistrict of Columbia have enacted hate crime statutes based on or similar to the ADL model. In 1993, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously upheld aWisconsin hate crimes statute based on the ADL model.