This week, a once esteemed federal law enforcement agency released their latest hate crime statistic for calendar year 2017, according to officials at the National Association of Chiefs of Police, headquartered in Titusville, Florida.
The Hate Crime Statistics for 2017, taken from the annual FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation), is known as the Uniform Crime Report (UCR) and is the latest compilation about bias-motivated incidents throughout the nation.
The 2017 data, submitted by 16,149 law enforcement agencies (up from 15,254 agencies in 2016), provide information about the offenses, victims, offenders, and locations of hate crimes.
While the statistics are used by local police agencies, directors of corporate security, and university professors who teach and write about criminal justice, there is a hesitation by police officers to call the report’s figures merely estimations.
The reason for the lack of accuracy in the yearly released UCR’s documentation is the fact that it is a voluntary program and as such for whatever reason, local police departments may opt to withhold possession.
Law enforcement agencies submitted incident reports involving 7,175 criminal incidents and 8,437 related offenses as being motivated by bias toward race, ethnicity, ancestry, religion, sexual orientation, disability, gender, and gender identity. Please note the UCR Program does not estimate offenses for the jurisdictions of agencies that do not submit reports. Highlights of Hate Crime Statistics, 2017 follow.
Victims of Hate Crime Incidents
- There were 7,106 single-bias incidents involving 8,493 victims. A percent distribution of victims by bias type shows that 59.6 percent of victims were targeted because of the offenders’ race/ethnicity/ancestry bias; 20.6 percent were targeted because of the offenders’ religious bias; 15.8 percent were victimized because of the offenders’ sexual-orientation bias; 1.9 percent were victimized because of the offenders’ disability bias; 1.6 percent were targeted because of the offenders’ gender identity bias; and 0.6 percent were victimized because of the offenders’ gender bias. (Due to rounding, percentage breakdowns may not add to 100.0 percent.)
- Sixty-nine (69) multiple-bias hate crime incidents involved 335 victims.
Offenses by Crime Category
- Of the 5,084 hate crime offenses classified as crimes against persons in 2017, 44.9 percent were for intimidation, 34.3 percent were for simple assault, and 19.5 percent were for aggravated assault. Twenty-three rapes, 15 murders, and one offense of human trafficking—commercial sex acts were reported as hate crimes. The remaining 27 hate crime offenses were reported in the category of other.
- There were 3,115 hate crime offenses classified as crimes against property. The majority of these (74.6 percent) were acts of destruction/damage/vandalism. Robbery, burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, arson, and other offenses accounted for the remaining 25.4 percent of crimes against property.
- Two hundred thirty-eight (238) additional offenses were classified as crimes against society. This crime category represents society’s prohibition against engaging in certain types of activity such as gambling, prostitution, and drug violations. These are typically victimless crimes in which property is not the object.
- In 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. Beginning in 2013, law enforcement officers may also report whether suspects were juveniles or adults, as well as the suspect’s ethnicity when possible.
- Of the 6,370 known offenders, 50.7 percent were white, and 21.3 percent were black or African-American. Other races accounted for the remaining known offenders: 0.8 percent were American Indian or Alaska Native; 0.7 percent were Asian; less than one-tenth of 1 percent were Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander; and 7.5 percent were of a group of multiple races. The race was unknown for 19.1 percent.
- Of the 5,131 known offenders for whom ethnicity was reported, 25.0 percent were not Hispanic or Latino, 8.8 percent were Hispanic or Latino, and 1.6 percent were in a group of multiple ethnicities. Ethnicity was unknown for 64.5 percent of these offenders.
- Of the 4,895 known offenders for whom ages were known, 83.0 percent were 18 years of age or older.
Locations of Hate Crimes
Law enforcement agencies may specify the location of an offense within a hate crime incident as one of 46 location designations. In 2017, most hate crime incidents (27.5 percent) occurred in or near residences/homes. Seventeen (17.0) percent occurred on highways/roads/alleys/streets/sidewalks; 10.5 percent occurred at schools/colleges; 5.8 percent happened at parking/drop lots/garages; and 4.1 percent took place in churches/synagogues/temples/mosques. The location was reported as other/unknown for 11.5 percent of hate crime incidents. The remaining 23.7 percent of hate crime incidents took place at other or multiple locations.