ADL Calls for Renewed Efforts to Enact Legislation and Develop Programs to Address Hate Crimes in America
New York, NY, October 25, 2004 …Responding to the release of the FBI's annual crime report today, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) called upon lawmakers to expand efforts to enact hate crime legislation and to develop positive programs to address hate motivated violence in America.
The annual FBI crime report documented almost 7,500 hate crimes reported by law enforcement agencies across the country – approximately the same level of violence and vandalism in 2002 – and a significant decline from the record high levels of 2001. The League also called for increased education and training for police agencies and expanded coordination between federal and state authorities to investigate and prosecute hate crimes.
The 2003 FBI hate crime data, released today and collected under the mandate of the 1990 Hate Crime Statistics Act (HCSA), documented 7,489 hate crimes in 2003 – just slightly more than the 7,462 hate crimes reported by the FBI in 2002. The report documented over 1,300 religion-based crimes – more than 69 percent directed against Jews and Jewish institutions.
"After a dozen years of FBI hate crime data collection studies, it is high time to ensure that every state has a strong and inclusive hate crime statute, effective training for law enforcement authorities to address this criminal activity, and programs to address racism, prejudice, and all forms of bigotry in the schools," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "This FBI report documents almost 7,500 acts of vandalism and violence directed at individuals and institutions on the basis of their race, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, and disability in 2003 – that's nearly one hate crime for every hour of every day. Now is the time to implement policies and programs designed to confront racism, anti-Semitism, and bigotry in all forms."
The League has extensive resources that can be tailored to meet community needs, including "How to Combat Bias and Hate Crimes: An ADL Blueprint for Action," a 2004 compendium of the League's best programs available at http://www.adl.org/blueprint.pdf.
This month, the House Republican leadership acted to strip language which would have expanded current federal hate crime protection from a pending defense bill. This provision, the Local Law Enforcement Enhancement Act, had been approved 65-33 in the Senate in July and 213-186 in the House in September. "To empower state law enforcement officials to address hate violence in the most effective manner, Congress must act to permit federal authorities to provide the full range of assistance to these local officials prosecuting hate crimes and, when appropriate, investigate and prosecute hate crimes in those circumstances where state and local officials cannot or will not act themselves," Mr. Foxman said.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.