ADL Calls 1997 FBI Hate Crime Figures "A Disturbing Measure of Hate in America"
Washington, D.C., November 23, 1998 ... Calling the FBI's 1997 national hate crime statistics
report "a disturbing measure of hate in America," the Anti- Defamation League
(ADL) today called for expanded bipartisan efforts at both the state and federal levels to
address bias-motivated violence. The 1997 FBI hate crime data, collected under the mandate
of the Hate Crime Statistics Act (HCSA) of 1990, documented 8,049 hate crimes, reported by
11,211 law enforcement agencies across the country. In 1996, the FBI reported 8,734 hate
crimes from 11,355 agencies.
Howard P. Berkowitz, ADL National Chairman, and Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National
Director, issued the following statement in reaction to the release of the FBI statistics:
The FBI's 1997 hate crime statistics are a disturbing measure of hate in America.
Though the FBI recorded a slight decrease in the number of reported hate crimes last year,
the overall total of over 8,000 individual acts of vandalism and violence directed at
individuals and religious sites is deeply disturbing. The FBI figures reveal that 1,087 of
the crimes were directed against Jews and Jewish institutions -- almost 80 percent of the
total number of crimes directed against persons and property on the basis of religion.
This high level of violence and vandalism directed against Jews is another reminder that
violent anti-Semitism remains a significant problem in America.
Though we are pleased to note the slight decrease in the number of reported hate
crimes, it is too early to tell whether this drop reflects the general declining crime
trends, effective programmatic and law enforcement response -- or, instead, is
attributable to the unwelcome decrease in the number of HCSA participating agencies. 1997
marks the first year that the number of participating agencies has declined from one year
to the next. The increase in the number of participating agencies every year since 1990
has sparked significant improvements in the response of the criminal justice system to
hate violence. In the months to come, we will work with federal and state authorities to
promote outreach, training, and education efforts to ensure the widest possible
participation in the HCSA reporting program.
These hate crime numbers do not speak for themselves. Because behind each and every one
of these statistics is an individual or a community targeted for violence for no other
reason than race, religion, sexual orientation, disability, or ethnicity. ADL will
continue to take a leadership role in crafting effective programming to address prejudice
and bigotry and will continue to promote bipartisan support for education and training
efforts to address this national problem.
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.