U.S. law enforcement agencies reported 6,604 criminal hate crime incidents last year, the FBI said today. That is down from 2008, when 7783 incidents were reported, but year-to-year comparisons are difficult because reproting is voluntary and different numbers of agencies report to the FBI each year. There also were fewer offenses and victims reported in 2009 than in 2008. Reports came in from more than 14,000 law enforcement agencies covering 279 million population, most of the nation.
Of the 6,598 involving one form of bias, 48.5 percent were motivated by a racial bias, 19.7 percent were motivated by a religious bias, 18.5 percent were motivated by a sexual-orientation bias, and 11.8 percent by an ethnicity/national origin bias. Bias against a disability accounted for 1.5 percent of single-bias incidents. There were 4,793 hate crime offenses classified as crimes against persons in 2009. Intimidation accounted for 45.0 percent of crimes against persons, simple assaults for 35.3 percent, and aggravated assaults for 19.1 percent. There were 2,970 hate crime offenses classified as crimes against property; most of these (83.0 percent) were acts of destruction/damage/vandalism. Of the 6,225 known offenders, 62.4 percent were white, 18.5 percent were black, 7.3 percent were groups made up of individuals of various races (multiple races, group), 1.0 percent were American Indian/Alaskan Native, and 0.7 percent were Asian/Pacific Islander.