2007 Hate Crime Report: Sexual Orientation Hate Crimes Increase, Most Violent

Jim Burroway

October 27th, 2008

The FBI just released its hate crime report for 2007. While hate crimes overall decreased slightly from 2006, crimes based on sexual orientation increased during the same period. Hate crimes based on sexual orientation also continue to be the most violent, with more than half of all hate crime murders in 2007 attributed to sexual orientation.

Hate crimes based on biases against transgender persons are not explicitly included in the FBI’s hate crimes statistics. It is unclear whether any of the bias crimes tracked according to sexual orientation include gender identity or expression.

Here is the overall breakdown of hate crime offenses for 2007 compared to 2006:

  Hate Crime Offenses, 2006 Hate Crime Offenses, 2007
Race 4,737 52% 4,724 52%
Religion 1,597 18% 1,477 16%
Sexual Orientation 1,415 16% 1,460 16%
Ethnicity 1,233 14% 1,256 14%
Disability 94 1% 82 <1%
TOTAL 9,080 100%* 9,006 100%*
Totals don’t add up due to additional
multi-category hate crime offenses.
Percentages don’t add to 100%
due to rounding errors.

Overall, hate crime offenses in 2007 went down slightly from 2006. Hate crime offenses based on religion fell by 8% from 2006. More than two-thirds of those reports are anti-Jewish offenses. Hate crime offenses based on sexual orientation now statistically tie those based on religion.

Of nine murders logged as hate crime incidents in 2007, five were attributed to sexual orientation, two to race, and two to ethnicity/national origin. In 2006 there were only three hate crime murders reported by the FBI. All of those were on the basis of race. But as we reported last year, a number of known hate crime murders based on sexual orientation did not make it into the FBI’s hate crime statistics that year.

Hate crime offenses based on sexual orientation continue to be the most physically violent:

  Total Hate Crime Offenses, 2007 Violent Crimes, percentage of total
Race 4,724 1,471 31%
Religion 1,477 126 9%
Sexual Orientation 1,460 695 48%
Ethnicity 1,256 497 40%
Disability 82 21 26%
TOTAL 9,006 2,810 31%
Violent crimes include:
Murder and non-negligent manslaughter,
forcible rape, aggravated assault
and simple assault.

These FBI statistics rely on the voluntary cooperation of local law enforcement agencies to report hate crimes which occur in their jurisdictions. This reporting is neither mandatory nor funded. So not all agencies participate, and those that do often do so inconsistently. For more information on how this occurs, please see our report, Federal Hate Crime Statistics: Why the Numbers Don’t Add Up.

This year, there were 13,241 law enforcement agencies participating in the Hate Crimes reporting system, covering 260,229,972 of the U.S. population. That compares to 12,620 law enforcement agencies in 2006 covering 255,086,543 of the U.S. population.

Of the five bias categories tracked by the FBI, two of them are not covered by the current federal hate crimes law. Disability is one of those categories. Can you guess the other one?

Update: I’ve updated this post to reflect that the statistics are these statistics are of hate crime offenses. The FBI maintains three sets of statitics: Hate crime incidents, offenses and victims. Multiple offenses (i.e. assault and robbery) can occur in the same hate crime incident involving one or more victims. The breakout for each category is as follows:

  Total Hate Crime Incidents, 2007 Total Hate Crime Offenses, 2007 Total Hate Crime Victims, 2007
Race 3,870 4,724 4,965
Religion 1,400 1,477 1,628
Sexual Orientation 1,265 1,460 1,512
Ethnicity 1,007 1,256 1,347
Disability 79 82 84
TOTAL 7,624 9,006 9,535
Totals don’t add up due to additional
multi-category hate crime incidents, offenses and victims.

L. Junius Brutus

October 27th, 2008

I always keep things like this in mind when religious fanatics claim that they ‘love’ us. They never lift a finger to combat hate crimes and indeed encourage these crimes with their vile rhetoric. Such love.

Considering how much we’ve been in the news this year, I expect the 2008 numbers to be worse.


October 27th, 2008

“They never lift a finger to combat hate crimes and indeed encourage these crimes with their vile rhetoric. Such love.”

You’re absolutely right. And most of them actively oppose adding sexual orientation to hate crime laws. A lot of them will make the “libertarian” case that you shouldn’t further punish something that’s already a crime, but I only ever hear them get upset when people talk about expanding them to include sexual orientation and gender identity.

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