According to statistics released December 10 by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, 6,222 criminal incidents involving 7,254 offenses were reported in 2011 as a result of bias toward a particular race, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity/national origin, or physical or mental disability. The statistics, published by the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) program in Hate Crime Statistics, 2011, provide data about the offenses, victims, offenders, and locations of the bias-motivated incidents reported by law enforcement agencies throughout the nation. Due to the unique nature of hate crime, however, the UCR program does not estimate offenses for the jurisdictions of agencies that do not submit reports.
Hate Crime Statistics, 2011 includes the following information:
- There were 6,216 single-bias incidents, of which 46.9 percent were motivated by a racial bias, 20.8 percent were motivated by a sexual orientation bias, 19.8 percent were motivated by a religious bias, and 11.6 percent were motivated by an ethnicity/national origin bias. Bias against a disability accounted for 0.9 percent of single-bias incidents.
- Of the 4,623 hate crime offenses classified as crimes against persons in 2011, intimidation accounted for 45.6 percent, simple assaults for 34.5 percent, and aggravated assaults for 19.4 percent. Four murders and seven forcible rapes were reported as hate crimes.
- There were 2,611 hate crime offenses classified as crimes against property. The majority of these (81.4 percent) were acts of destruction/damage/vandalism. Robbery, burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, arson, and other offenses accounted for the remaining 18.6 percent of crimes against property.
- Fifty-nine percent of the 5,731 known offenders were white; 20.9 percent were black. The race was unknown for 10.8 percent, and other races accounted for the remaining known offenders.
- Most hate crime incidents (32.0 percent) occurred in or near homes. Eighteen percent took place on highways, roads, alleys, or streets; 9.3 percent happened at schools or colleges; 5.9 percent in parking lots or garages; and 4.4 percent in churches, synagogues, or temples. The location was considered other (undesignated) or unknown for 11.3 percent of hate crime incidents. The remaining 19.1 percent of hate crime incidents took place at other specified or multiple locations.
The Hate Crime Statistics Program of the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program collects data regarding criminal offenses that are motivated, in whole or in part, by the offender’s bias against a race, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity/national origin, or disability and are committed against persons, property, or society. (Forthcoming system changes will also allow the future collection of data for crimes motivated by gender and gender identity as well as data about crimes committed by, and crimes directed against, juveniles.) Because motivation is subjective, it is sometimes difficult to know with certainty whether a crime resulted from the offender’s bias. Moreover, the presence of bias alone does not necessarily mean that a crime can be considered a hate crime. Only when law enforcement investigation reveals sufficient evidence to lead a reasonable and prudent person to conclude that the offender’s actions were motivated, in whole or in part, by his or her bias, should an incident be reported as a hate crime.
The UCR Program collects data about both single-bias and multiple-bias hate crimes. A single-bias incident is an incident in which one or more offense types are motivated by the same bias. A multiple-bias incident is an incident in which more than one offense type occurs and at least two offense types are motivated by different biases.
The law enforcement agencies that voluntarily participate in the Hate Crime Statistics Program collect details about offenders’ bias motivations associated with 11 offense types already being reported to the UCR Program: murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, forcible rape, aggravated assault, simple assault, and intimidation (crimes against persons); and robbery, burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, arson, and destruction/damage/vandalism (crimes against property). The law enforcement agencies that participate in the UCR Program via the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) collect data about additional offenses for crimes against persons and crimes against property. These data appear in Hate Crime Statistics in the category of other. These agencies also collect hate crime data for the category called crimes against society, which includes drug or narcotic offenses, gambling offenses, prostitution offenses, and weapon law violations. Together, the offense classification other and the crime category crimes against society include 34 Group A offenses (not listed) that are captured in the NIBRS, which also collects the previously mentioned 11 offense categories. (The Uniform Crime Reporting Handbook, NIBRS Edition , provides an explanation of the 45 Group A Offenses.)
Crimes against persons, property, or society
The UCR Program’s data collection guidelines stipulate that a hate crime may involve multiple offenses, victims, and offenders within one incident; therefore, the Hate Crime Statistics Program is incident-based. According to UCR counting guidelines:
- One offense is counted for each victim in crimes against persons.
- One offense is counted for each offense type in crimes against property.
- One offense is counted for each offense type in crimes against society.
In the UCR Program, the victim of a hate crime can be an individual, a business, an institution, or society as a whole.
According to the UCR Program, the term known offender does not imply that the suspect’s identity is known; rather, the term indicates that some aspect of the suspect was identified, thus distinguishing the suspect from an unknown offender. Law enforcement agencies specify the number of offenders and, when possible, the race of the offender or offenders as a group.
The UCR Program uses the following five racial designations in its Hate Crime Statistics Program: White; Black; American Indian/Alaskan Native; Asian/Pacific Islander; and Multiple Races, Group. In addition, the UCR Program uses the ethnic designations of Hispanic and Other Ethnicity/National Origin.
Law enforcement agencies report hate crimes brought to their attention monthly or quarterly to the FBI either directly or through their state UCR Programs. These agencies submit hate crime data in either a NIBRS submission or an electronic hate crime record layout via e-mail. Agencies may also submit hate crime data on printed forms titled the Hate Crime Incident Report and the Quarterly Hate Crime Report.
Reporting via the NIBRS
Agencies that report offense data to the FBI via the NIBRS use a data element within their reporting software to indicate whether an incident was motivated by bias. Because the NIBRS is an incident-based, comprehensive data collection system, these agencies can report considerably more information about a hate crime than that captured in the current electronic record or on the paper forms. For example, the data element that indicates bias motivation applies to 45 Group A Offenses, and agencies can report information such as the age, sex, and race of victims, offenders, and arrestees. Although the additional data collected via the NIBRS are not maintained in the hate crime database, they are available in the NIBRS Flat Files. When agencies submit a Group A Incident Report with a bias indicator of “None,” a Group B Arrest Report (because no offenses [bias-motivated or otherwise] occurred in their respective jurisdictions), or a Zero Report (because no offenses [bias-motivated or otherwise] or arrests occurred), the FBI records zero hate crime incidents for that agency for the reporting period.
Reporting via the electronic hate crime record layout
Law enforcement agencies that prefer electronic submissions but do not report via the NIBRS may use the hate crime record layout specified in the publication Hate Crime Magnetic Media Specifications for Tapes & Diskettes (January 1997 [with subsequent amendments]).
Reporting via printed forms
Agencies that use the Hate Crime Incident Report and the Quarterly Hate Crime Report forms capture the following information about each hate crime incident:
- Offense type and the respective bias motivation
- Number and type of victims
- Location of the incident
- Number of known offenders
- Race of known offenders
For each calendar quarter, law enforcement agencies submit a Hate Crime Incident Report for each bias-motivated incident as well as a Quarterly Hate Crime Report, which summarizes the total number of incidents reported for the quarter. Agencies may also use a Quarterly Hate Crime Report to delete any previously reported incidents that were determined through subsequent investigation not to be bias motivated. If no hate crime incidents occurred in their jurisdictions that quarter, the agencies must still submit a Quarterly Hate Crime Report to report zero hate crime incidents.
Population figures and area designations
The FBI calculated 2011 state growth rates using the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2010 decennial state/national population figures and 2011 provisional state/national estimates. The FBI then estimated population figures for city jurisdictions by applying the 2011 state growth rate to the 2010 U.S. Census Bureau data.
Universities and colleges
The figures listed for universities and colleges are student enrollments that were provided by the United States Department of Education for the 2010 school year, the most recent available. The enrollment figures include full-time and part-time students.
Based on the Office of Management and Budget’s standards for defining Metropolitan Statistical Areas, the UCR Program refers to suburban counties as metropolitan counties and to rural counties as nonmetropolitan counties.
Caution to users
Valid assessments about crime, including hate crime, are possible only with careful study and analysis of the various conditions affecting each local law enforcement jurisdiction. (See Variables Affecting Crime.) In addition, some data in this publication may not be comparable to those in prior editions of Hate Crime Statistics because of differing levels of participation from year to year. Therefore, the reader is cautioned against making simplistic comparisons between the statistical data of this program and that of others with differing methodologies or even comparing individual reporting units solely on the basis of their agency type.
To be included in this publication, law enforcement agencies must have submitted either of the following: (1) at least one NIBRS Group A Incident Report, a Group B Arrest Report, or a Zero Report for at least 1 month of the calendar year or (2) at least one Hate Crime Incident Report and/or a Quarterly Hate Crime Report. The published data, therefore, do not necessarily represent reports from each participating agency for 12 months or 4 quarters. In addition, the UCR Program does not apply offense estimation procedures to account for missing data from agencies that do not participate in the Hate Crime Statistics Program.
When examining the data contained in this report, data users should be aware that the first line following each table number presents that table’s unit of analysis: incident, offense, victim, or known offender. The tabular presentation that follows briefly describes the data sources and the methods used to construct Tables 1–14.