FBI Report Shows Hate Crimes Down in America

hate crimes, Chicago Criminal Defense AttorneyInvestigating hate crimes has long been a priority of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Although the term “hate crime” only started being used in the 1980’s, the FBI has been investigating forms of hate crime since the beginning of World War 1. Today, it seems the bureau’s efforts have been effective, as their newly released report shows that hate crimes across the country are down in numbers. This year’s Hate Crime Statistics Report, an annual report on hate crimes released by the FBI, shows that the number of hate crimes in 2014 is down compared to 2013.

The U.S. Congress, in an attempt to simplify data collection, defines hate crimes as a “criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, ethnic origin sexual orientation.” While hate speech is not a crime, any criminal offense could be considered a hate crime if the offender has a personal bias against the victim. This includes murder, theft, arson, and vandalism.

Hate crimes are typically devastating to victims, families, and entire communities of people, and often lead to increased penalties for offenders. Due to the serious nature of these crimes, the FBI has been tracking hate crimes and assisting local authorities whenever possible.

Recently, the FBI released their official report on hate crime statistics for 2014. In 2014, the U.S. experienced 5,479 hate crimes, compared to nearly 6,000 in 2013. Most hate crimes, including anti-black, anti-Latino, anti-LGBT, and anti-Jewish crimes saw lower numbers compared to previous years—a good sign for those fighting against hate crimes. Anti-Muslim attacks, however, were up. There were 135 anti-Muslim attacks in the U.S. in 2013, compared to 154 of them in 2014.

While the numbers show a potential downward trend in hate crimes, some worry that the numbers are not truly representative of the amount of hate crimes that actually occur in America. The president of the Southern Poverty Law Center recently stated that law enforcement agencies across the country are not reporting hate crimes, meaning the collected data is not accurate. It is also widely thought that many victims of hate crimes never report anything, because they believe they will either face backlash, or that nothing will be done to help them. To combat this, the FBI worked in 2015 to provide training sessions to local law enforcement agencies on hate crimes and how to report them properly.

Experts worry that the number of anti-Muslim crimes will continue to grow. Acts committed by radical Islamic groups are likely to keep building anti-Muslim sentiment in America. Additionally, the recent terrorist attacks on Paris, France, have many American citizens up in arms. A mosque in Florida recently received threatening phone calls. Another mosque in Texas was vandalized, the Koran teared apart and defecated on. In Ontario, a mosque was recently set on fire, determined by authorities to be a deliberate act of arson.

The FBI has been collecting data this year for its next report, which will also focus on providing additional information on different kinds of religious biases and also detail anti-Arab offenses.

If you are facing criminal charges, hiring a qualified Chicago criminal defense attorney is in your best interest. The skilled team at the Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel, Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney is able to assist you with any criminal legal needs. Contact our offices at 312-270-0999 to schedule a consultation with an attorney today.

Sources:

https://www.fbi.gov/about-us/investigate/civilrights/hate_crimes/overview

http://www.newsweek.com/fbi-hate-crimes-are-down-us-not-against-muslims-395578

https://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2015/november/latest-hate-crime-statistics-available

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