An estimated 148,400 hate crimes were reported to the National Crime Victimization Survey in 2009, far lower than the 239,400 in 2003, the U..S. Bureau of Justice Statistics said today. Almost 90 percent of hate crimes were perceived to be motivated by racial or ethnic prejudice or both. In almost all hate crimes, the offender used hate-related language against the victim. (The FBI also puts out a hate-crime report that includes only those voluntarily reported by some law enforcement agencies. That report counted 6,604 incidents in 2009 and 7,489 in 2003. Many hate crimes never are reported to law enforcement).
Nearly 87 percent of hate crimes involved violence, and about 23 percent were serious violent crimes (rape/sexual assault, robbery, or aggravated assault). In comparison, 23 percent of all nonhate crimes involved violence and 8 percent of nonhate crimes were serious violent crimes. There were eight hate crime homicides in 2009. Crimes motivated by gender or gender identity bias were outside the scope of the report. About 30 percent of hate crime victims suspected they were targeted because of their ethnicity; about 15 percent of victims suspected the offenders were motivated by bias against their sexual orientation; 12 percent suspected religious bias; and 10 percent suspected they were targeted because of a disability. BJS did not offer possible reasons for the hate crime number decline.