Unfinished Lives

Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims

Hate Attacks Up Against LGBT’s, Blacks, and Jews in 2008: FBI Reports

Washington, D.C. – The annual FBI report on bias-related hate crimes in the United States notes increases in violent attacks against LGBT people, African Americans, and Jewish people.  Mandated by the 1990 Hate Crimes Statistics Act, the collection and publication of these data received voluntarily from law enforcement organizations almost always underestimate the number of incidents and victims of hate crime attacks because of gaps in reportage, lack of funding to support local law enforcement compliance with FBI requests for this information, and the reluctance of persons to identify themselves as targets of hate violence.  CBS News analysis of the 2009 FBI report notes that though the numbers of attacks is up only slightly over the previous year, 7,783 criminal incidents involving 9,168 offenses in 2008 as opposed to 7,624 criminal incidents involving 9,006 offenses reported in 2007, the rise in violence against these three vulnerable groups is particularly worrying.  Anti-black attacks accounted for 72.6% of all racially-motivated violence, which in aggregate amounted to 51.3% of all hate crimes in the United States in 2008.  Anti-religious bias accounted for 19.5% of the total, with anti-Jewish attacks representing the vast majority of these incidents, 65.7%.  Violent crimes motivated by sexual orientation ranked third among all bias-motivated crimes, at 16.7%.  Of these anti-LGBT attacks, a full 11% higher in 2008 than in 2007, most by far were perpetrated against gay men, 58.6% of all hate crimes against people because of homophobia and heterosexism.  Here in Texas, according to the Dallas Voice, hate crimes against LGBT people were up a full 20% over the previous year.  The entire FBI report for 2008 may be accessed in .pdf form here.  Human rights leaders across the nation were quick to call for swift and decisive action to prosecute perpetrators of hate violence, and to reduce the alarming increases among blacks, Jews, and LGBT people.  Joe Solmonese, speaking for the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBT advocacy organization released this statement on Monday: “These numbers are unacceptable.  While it is so important that we have the new federal hate crimes law, it is critical to ensure that we continue working with the Department of Justice to ensure the safety of LGBT citizens.  We have to prosecute each hate crime to the fullest extent of the law, but we also need to get at the roots.  When we don’t know each other as human beings, ignorance breeds misunderstanding, which breeds hate, which too often this year led to violence.  We have to keep fighting the prejudices and stereotypes that underlie these acts.”  Roger G. Sugarman, National Chair of the Anti-Defamation League, noted for the Ha’aretz Service “While the increase in the number of hate crimes may be partially attributed to improved reporting, the fact that these numbers remain elevated – particularly the significant rise in the number of victims selected on the basis of religion or sexual orientation – should be of concern to every American.”

November 24, 2009 Posted by | African Americans, anti-LGBT hate crime murder, Anti-Semitism, bi-phobia, Bisexual persons, gay men, Hate Crime Statistics, Hate Crimes, Heterosexism and homophobia, Law and Order, Lesbian women, Matthew Shepard Act, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, Racism, religious intolerance, transgender persons, transphobia, Washington, D.C. | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

   

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