The number of hate crimes reported to the FBI changed little last year. A majority of the 7,489 hate crimes in 2003 involved incidents against blacks. The total was up slightly from the 7,462 in 2002, the Los Angeles Times reports. Religious intolerance was the motivation for 1,343 incidents. The majority of the attacks – 927 – targeted Jews, about the same number as in 2002. Attacks against Muslims were down from 155 in 2002 to 149 last year; two years before, after the Sept. 11 terror attacks, 481 hate crimes against Muslims were reported.
With the exception of 2001, the reported numbers of hate crimes have remained relatively stable since 1995, the first year for which the statistics were published. Groups that monitor hate crimes said the FBI’s tally probably underestimated the total because it could not compel law enforcement agencies to report crime statistics. Of the nearly 17,000 agencies that report crime data to the FBI, 11,909 provided information identifying hate crimes. More than 83% of the agencies reported no incidents, including such cities as Oakland, Tallahassee, and Baltimore.