New York, NY, December 10, 2012 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today welcomed the decrease in hate crimes documented by the FBI's annual Hate Crime Statistics Act (HCSA) report. But the League said the number of reported hate crimes in America remains "far too many" and called on law enforcement and community leaders to make greater efforts to raise awareness of hate crimes and their impact on society.
The 2011 FBI report documented 6,222 hate crimes, a 6 percent decrease from 2010 figures and the lowest number of reported hate crimes since 1994.
Barry Curtiss-Lusher, ADL National Chair, and Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director issued the following statement:
We welcome the decrease in hate crimes reflected in the FBI's annual HCSA report, now the single most important snapshot of violent bigotry in America.
Yet, 6,222 reported hate crimes – about one every 90 minutes of every day – is far too many. The increase in the number of reported hate crimes directed against gays and lesbians, now the second most frequent category of crime, is especially disturbing. It is also troubling that Jews and Jewish institutions continued to be principal targets, accounting for 63 percent of all religion-based hate crimes in 2011 – showing, once again, that anti-Semitism is still a serious and deeply entrenched problem in America.
And, importantly, the FBI report does not reveal how many hate crimes are still going unreported. At least 79 cities over 100,000 in population either did not participate in the FBI hate crime data collection program at all or affirmatively reported to the Bureau that they had zero hate crimes. Law enforcement agencies must demonstrate that they are ready and willing to respond to hate violence.
We will continue to lead national and state advocacy, training, and legal efforts to improve the response to hate violence by working with coalition allies and federal and state officials to spark necessary improvements in reporting and response to this national problem.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has been collecting hate crime data and releasing annual reports since the enactment of the HCSA in 1990. About 14,500 police agencies across the country participated in the FBI data collection effort in 2011, a decrease from the almost 15,000 departments in 2010.
ADL has worked closely with the FBI and Justice officials since the enactment of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 (HCPA), including participation in some of the dozens of training sessions across the country, which have educated thousands of officers about the impact of hate violence and the new tools and resources available under the HCPA.