Metro Weekly

FBI report: 20% of hate crimes last year had anti-gay bias

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While the CIA bears the brunt of news coverage over its use of torture, across town, the FBI has released its annual hate crime report for 2013.

Of the 5,298 single bias hate crimes reported last year, 20.8% of them were based on sexual orientation. Of that total, almost two-thirds were specifically classified as anti-gay male bias, while gender identity — included in the report for the first time this year — totalled at 0.5% of all hate crimes, or 31 attacks. However, that small total contrasts with a report released by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) in May which found that 344 transgender people were victims of hate crimes last year in just thirteen states, while 72% of anti-LGBTI homocide victims were transgender women. What’s more, transgender women are “7 times more likely to experience police violence and physical violence from law enforcement,” according to NCAVP’s latest statistics.

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The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) responded to the FBI report by urging all law enforcement to ensure every hate crime is reported to ensure the national statistics are accurate.

“Hate crimes are different from other crimes because they affect not only the victims and their families, but generate fear and insecurity for the entire community they target,” said David Stacy, HRC’s Government Affairs Director. “While reporting statistics on hate crimes based on sexual orientation — and now on gender identity — are important first steps, so much more work is needed to prevent bias-motivated violence. For example, too many states still do not have an LGBT-inclusive state-level hate crimes law, and we are committed to working with our partners and allies to change that.

The upside of the FBI report is that there was a slight decrease in in the number of reported hate crimes compared with prior years. Since 2009, the number of reported hate crimes has increased, with 1,277, 1,293 and 1,299 LGBT hate crimes in 2010, 2011, and 2012 respectively, with 2013’s 20.2% translating to 1,233 incidents. What’s more, the FBI reported that more law enforcement agencies participated in the 2013 report than prior years, with more than 500 more participating compared with 2012, yet the total number of hate crimes reported still decreased.

Image Credit: Cliff / Flickr, FBI

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Rhuaridh Marr is Metro Weekly's managing editor. He can be reached at rmarr@metroweekly.com.

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