New York, NY, November 19, 2007… Reacting to the release of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) report on hate crimes in 2006, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today called it a "disturbing documentation of the hate crime problem in America." The League urged Congress and the President to enact pending legislation that will assist state and local law enforcement in prosecuting hate crimes.
Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued the following statement:
The FBI report released today is another disturbing documentation of the nature and magnitude of the hate crime problem in America. While the statistics are for 2006, we continue to see a flurry of hate crimes, especially a rash of nooses and swastikas appearing around the country. Now is the time for Congress and the President to act to permit federal authorities to provide the full range of assistance to state and local law enforcement officials prosecuting hate crimes.
The Hate Crime Statistics Act is one of the most important federal hate crime laws. The FBI's national data collection effort has sparked essential improvements in the response of the criminal justice system to hate violence. Enactment of the pending Local Law Enforcement Hate Crime Prevention Act will supplement these efforts and facilitate more comprehensive hate crime reporting.
There also needs to be increased anti-bias education in schools to prevent these crimes -- and training for police agencies and expanded coordination between federal and state authorities to investigate and prosecute hate crimes.
The Local Law Enforcement Hate Crime Prevention Act is designed to expand the range of assistance federal authorities can provide state and local officials prosecuting hate crimes and, when appropriate, provide authority for federal officials to investigate and prosecute hate crimes in those circumstances where state and local officials cannot or will not act themselves. The measure passed the House 237-180 in May and was included as an amendment to the Department of Defense Authorization bill by the Senate in September. The measure is now pending before a House-Senate conference committee meeting to reconcile their differing versions.
The 2006 FBI hate crime data, collected under the mandate of the 1990 Hate Crime Statistics Act (HCSA), documented 7,722 hate crimes in 2006 – 8 percent more than the 7,163 hate crimes reported by the FBI in 2005. The report documented over 1,462 religion-based crimes – more than 66 percent directed against Jews and Jewish institutions.
In 2006, 12,620 law enforcement agencies in the United States participated in this data collection effort, compared to 12,417 in 2005. Yet, only 16.7% of participating agencies reported even a single hate crime – and almost 5,000 police departments across the country did not participate in the FBI reporting program at all.
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 compendium of the League's best education and training initiatives.