The United States Congress defines a hate crime as a “criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, ethnic origin or sexual orientation.” The following facts and figures are from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s 2012 annual hate crime statistics report.
- Hate Groups by the Numbers
There are 939 active hate groups in the United States – a 56 percent increase since 2000. The number of such groups surged in response to the election of the first African-American president, Barack Obama, and the economic downturn.
- Hate Crime Incidents
In 2012, there were a total of 5,796 hate crime incidents nationwide, with 7,164 victims.
- Hate Crimes, Race
Most hate crimes are motivated by racial bias, accounting for 48 percent of all such reports.
- Hate Crimes, Ethnic Break Down
Hate crimes against Black people far outnumber hate crimes against the larger white population.
The share of racial-ethnic incidents is as follows: anti-Black, 52 percent; anti-white, 19 percent; anti-Hispanic, 11 percent; anti-other ethnicity, 8 percent; anti-multiple races, 3 percent; anti-Asian, 3 percent; anti-American Indian, 3 percent.
- Hate Crimes, Religion
The number of hate crimes motivated by religious bias nearly tripled from 10 percent in 2004 to 28 percent in 2012, while the percentage of hate crimes motivated by gender bias more than doubled from 12 percent to 26 percent during the same period.
- Hate Groups
The most prevalent hate groups in 2012 were the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis, white nationalists and racist skinheads.
- Hate Crime Offenders by Race
Of the 5,331 known hate crime offenders, 54.6 percent are white and 23.3 percent are Black.
- Hate Crime Offenders by Age
Half of all the hate crimes in America are committed by people between the ages of 15 and 24.
- Hate Crimes Against the Homeless
There were 109 violent acts against the homeless reported in the 2013, half of the attacks were committed by people younger than 20 years old. Seventy-two percent of the attacks were committed by people younger than 30.
Currently, homeless people are not accounted for in federal hate crime statistics, but have some protection under laws in seven states – Alaska, California, Florida, Maine, Maryland, Rhode Island and Washington –along with Puerto Rico, District of Columbia, Cleveland, Los Angeles and Seattle.