On April 23, 1990, Congress passed the Hate Crime Statistics Act, 28 U.S.C. § 534, which required the Attorney General to collect data “about crimes that manifest evidence of prejudice based on race, religion, sexual orientation, or ethnicity.” The Attorney General delegated the responsibilities of developing the procedures for implementing, collecting, and managing hate crime data to the Director of the FBI, who, in turn, assigned the tasks to the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program. Under the direction of the Attorney General and with the cooperation and assistance of many local and state law enforcement agencies, the UCR Program created a hate crime data collection to comply with the congressional mandate.
The designers of the Hate Crime Statistics Program sought to capture information about the types of bias that motivate crimes, the nature of the offenses, and some information about the victims and offenders. In creating the program, the designers recognized that hate crimes are not separate, distinct crimes; instead, they are traditional offenses motivated by the offender’s bias. (For example, an offender assaults a victim because of a bias against the victim’s race.) After much consideration, the developers agreed that hate crime data could be derived by capturing the additional element of bias in those offenses already being reported to the UCR Program. Attaching the collection of hate crime statistics to the established UCR data collection procedures, they concluded, would fulfill the directives of the Hate Crime Statistics Act without placing an undue additional reporting burden on law enforcement. In time, a substantial body of data would develop about the nature and frequency of bias crimes occurring throughout the nation.
The first hate crime publications
The UCR Program’s first publication on the subject was Hate Crime Statistics, 1990: A Resource Book, which was a compilation of hate crime data reported by 11 states that had collected the information under state authority in 1990 and were willing to offer their data as a prototype. The UCR Program continued to work with agencies familiar with investigating hate crimes and collecting related information so that it could develop and implement a more uniform method of data collection on a nationwide scale. Hate Crime Statistics, 1992, presented the first published data reported by law enforcement agencies across the country that participated in the UCR Hate Crime Statistics Program.
Subsequent changes to the hate crime data collection
In September 1994, lawmakers amended the Hate Crime Statistics Act to include bias against persons with disabilities by passing the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, Public Law 103-322. The FBI started gathering data for the additional bias type on January 1, 1997.
The Church Arson Prevention Act, 18 U.S.C. § 247, which was signed into law in July 1996, removed the sunset clause from the original statute and mandated that the collection of hate crime data become a permanent part of the UCR Program.
Congress further amended the Hate Crime Statistics Act by passing the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009, 18 U.S.C. §249 (Shepard/Byrd Act.) The amendment includes the collection of data for crimes motivated by bias against a particular gender (male and female) and gender identity (transgender and gender non-conforming). It also mandated the FBI to collect data concerning hate crimes committed by or directed against juveniles; the UCR Program met the mandate by permitting law enforcement to report the number of victims/offenders who are 18 years of age or older and the number of victims/offenders under the age of 18. (See the Hate Crime Statistics Act for referenced legislation, as amended.) Also, at the recommendation of the Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Advisory Policy Board (APB) and with input from the Hate Crime Coalition, the FBI revised the hate crime data collection’s sexual-orientation bias types to anti-gay (male); anti-lesbian; anti-lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (mixed group); anti-heterosexual; and anti-bisexual. The FBI began collecting all of these data in 2013.
In 2012, the UCR Hate Crime Statistics Program made additional system modifications to comply with the requirements established by the U.S. Government’s Office of Management and Budget for the collection of race and ethnicity. The revised race categories are White, Black or African American, American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, and Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander. The revised ethnicity categories are “Hispanic or Latino” and “Not Hispanic or Latino.” At the recommendation of the CJIS APB, the FBI began allowing agencies to report up to four additional bias motivations per offense type. The FBI began collecting data with these modifications in 2013.
In 2013, at the recommendation of the CJIS APB and with the approval of the FBI Director, the UCR Program began collecting rape data under a revised definition and the absence of the term “forcible” from the offense name. The revised definition of rape as collected via the Summary Reporting System (SRS) is “Penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.” Although some SRS agencies have been able to apply the revised definition to their data collection procedures, not all agencies have been able to do so. Therefore, the UCR Program publishes the rape data of law enforcement agencies that submit their hate crime data via the SRS electronic record layout, or the Microsoft Excel Workbook Tool in accordance with the rape definition (i.e., revised or legacy [the historical definition]) the agency applies in the reporting year. For all law enforcement agencies that submit their hate crime data via NIBRS, the UCR Program combines the agencies’ totals for the offenses of rape (which includes both male and female victims), sodomy, and sexual assault with an object to derive rape figures in accordance with the broader revised definition. (See Methodology and About the UCR Program for more information.)
In 2013, the Director of the FBI approved the CJIS APB’s recommendation to expand the bias types in the religion category to include all of those identified by the Pew Research Center and the U.S. Census Bureau. The Director also approved the collection of an anti-Arab bias. Beginning in 2015, law enforcement agencies could submit the following additional religious bias types: anti-Buddhist, anti-Eastern Orthodox (Greek, Russian, etc.), anti-Hindu, anti-Jehovah’s Witness, anti-Mormon, anti-Other Christian, and anti-Sikh. Furthermore, the Hate Crime Statistics Program began collecting race and ethnicity bias types under the combined category Race/Ethnicity/Ancestry, which includes the added bias type of anti-Arab. In addition, the anti-Not Hispanic or Latino bias type became the anti-Other Race/Ethnicity/Ancestry bias type. Data concerning these changes were first published in Hate Crime Statistics, 2015.
In 2016, the UCR Program began permitting law enforcement agencies that contribute their data via NIBRS to report offenses of animal cruelty, identity theft, and hacking/computer invasion, as well as the location of cyberspace.
Beginning January 1, 2017, the national UCR Program is no longer publishing rape data collected using the UCR legacy definition of rape. Because the definition of rape in NIBRS is gender-neutral, this change does not affect agencies that submit incident-based rape data via NIBRS.
The hate crime data in this Web publication comprise a subset of information that law enforcement agencies submit to the UCR Program. Although the UCR Program historically calculates national estimates for specific tables in Crime in the United States, the program does not estimate any data (i.e., no estimation method is applied to account for missing data) in the Hate Crime Statistics Program. (See the subsection Agencies Contributing Data below and the accompanying table for more information about participating agencies.)
The types of hate crimes reported to the program (i.e., the biases that motivated the crimes) are further broken down into more specific categories. As collected for each hate crime incident, the aggregate data in this report include the following:
Incidents and offenses by bias motivation—Crimes reported to the FBI involve those motivated by biases based on race/ethnicity/ancestry, gender, gender identity, religion, disability, and sexual orientation, as well as crimes committed by and crimes directed against juveniles. Incidents may include one or more offense types.
Victims—The types of victims collected for hate crime incidents include individuals (adults and juveniles), businesses/financial institutions, government entities, religious organizations, and society/public as a whole.
Offenders—Law enforcement specifies the number of offenders (adults and juveniles), and when possible, the race and ethnicity of the offender or offenders as a group.
Location type—Law enforcement may specify one of 46 location designations, e.g., residence/home, parking/drop lot/garage. The location type of cyberspace is collected in NIBRS only.
Law enforcement’s support
Law enforcement’s support and participation have been the most vital factors in moving the hate crime data collection effort from concept to reality. The International Association of Chiefs of Police, the National Sheriffs’ Association, the former UCR Data Providers’ Advisory Policy Board (which is now part of the CJIS APB), the International Association of Directors of Law Enforcement Standards and Training, and the Association of State UCR Programs all have endorsed the UCR Program’s Hate Crime Statistics Program. In addition to this support, thousands of law enforcement agencies nationwide make crucial contributions to the program’s success as the officers within these agencies investigate offenses and report hate crimes when they determine the offenders’ actions were motivated by bias.
Agencies contributing data
Agencies that participated in the Hate Crime Statistics Program in 2016 represented nearly 290 million inhabitants, or 89.7 percent of the nation’s population, and their jurisdictions covered 49 states and the District of Columbia. (See Table 12.) The following table presents the number of agencies that participated in hate crime reporting in 2016 by population group and the population covered collectively by those agencies within each group.
For the complete report, visit https://ucr.fbi.gov/hate-crime/2016