A review of the data by incident showed that all but 4 of the incidents were classified as single-bias (involving only one bias motivation). A breakdown of the single-bias incidents by the type of bias revealed that 51.4 percent were motivated by racial bigotry, 17.9 percent were caused by religious intolerance, 16.6 percent were the result of a sexual-orientation bias, and 13.7 percent were triggered by an ethnicity/national origin bias. The remainder involved a bias against a disability.
Offenses and Victims
The offenses of murder, forcible rape, aggravated assault, simple assault, and intimidation are considered by the UCR Program to be crimes against persons. Within this category, intimidation was the most often reported hate crime, comprising 49.7 percent of the total crimes against persons in 2003. Simple assault accounted for 32.8 percent of the total, and aggravated assault comprised 16.7 percent. Murder and forcible rape accounted for 0.3 percent and 0.1 percent, respectively, of crimes against persons, and the offense category other made up the remaining 0.5 percent.
Among the 14 bias-motivated murders reported by law enforcement, 6 homicides were committed as a result of a sexual-orientation bias, 5 were the result of racial prejudice, and 2 were committed because of a bias against an ethnicity/national origin. One murder was the result of a hostility toward a disability.
The UCR Program categorizes as crimes against property the offenses of robbery, burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, arson, and damage/destruction/vandalism. The latter was the most frequently reported hate crime offense against property, accounting for 83.4 percent of the total. Of the 2,618 acts of destruction, damage, or vandalism driven by bias, 47.6 percent were directed at individuals, 10.5 percent were aimed at business or financial institutions, 8.1 percent were leveled at governmental entities, and another 8.1 percent were directed at religious organizations. Unknown, multiple, or other victim types accounted for the remainder.
In addition to gathering hate crime data about incidents, victims, and offenses, the UCR Program collects data about known offenders. In the context of hate crime data collection, the term known offender does not imply that the identity of the perpetrator is known but only that a distinguishing attribute has been identified. With regard to the attribute of race, among the 6,934 reported offenders, 62.3 percent were white, and 18.5 percent were black. The race was unknown for 10.7 percent of offenders, and the remainder were of other races or were members of a group composed of offenders of varying races.
The UCR Program analyzed the data by type of location and found that the majority of hate crime incidents (32.0 percent) took place in or on residential properties. Highways, roads, alleys, or streets were the settings for 17.6 percent of the reported incidents, and 11.8 percent took place at schools and colleges. The remaining incidents were distributed among various locations.
The information contained in the current report was submitted to the FBI by 11,909 law enforcement agencies. Although the data collected are not sufficient to serve as a valid national or regional measure of the extent of hate crime occurrences, they offer perspectives on the general nature of the hate crime phenomenon in the United States.
ADL Praises Hate Crime Report
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) praised the FBI's hate crime report and called on police departments to expand their participation in the annual data collection effort.
"This essential FBI annual report has helped us understand the nature and the magnitude of our nation's hate violence problem," said Barbara B. Balser, ADL National Chair and Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director in a press release. "We are absolutely committed to improving compliance by police departments that are not yet reporting hate crime data to the FBI. American communities have learned the hard way that failure to address bias crimes can cause an isolated incident to fester and result in widespread tension."