ADL Praises FBI Report On Hate Crimes; Calls For Improved Local Reporting
New York, NY, November 22, 2004
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today praised the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) as they released their annual report on hate crime statistics across the nation. The League also called on police departments to expand their participation in the annual data collection effort.
The 2003 FBI hate crime data, 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, and a significant decline from the record high levels of 2001. The report documented over 1,300 religion-based crimes more than 69 percent directed against Jews and Jewish institutions.
"These hate crime numbers do not tell the whole story," said Barbara B. Balser, ADL National Chair and Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "Behind each of these statistics is an individual or a community targeted for violence for no other reason than race, religion, sexual orientation, disability, or ethnicity."
In 2003, 11,909 law enforcement agencies in the United States participated in this data collection effort, compared to 12,073 in 2002. Yet, only 16.5% of participating agencies reported even a single hate crime and over 5,000 police departments across the country did not participate in the FBI reporting program at all.
"This essential FBI annual report has helped us understand the nature and the magnitude of our nation's hate violence problem," said Ms. Balser and Mr. Foxman. "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."
The League called for increased education and training for police agencies and expanded coordination between federal and state authorities to investigate and prosecute hate crimes. ADL 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.
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.