Majority of Hate Crimes Go Unreported, Target Victims Based on Gender or Ethnicity

Approximately 54 percent of hate crimes that took place in the United States between 2011 and 2015 were not reported to law enforcement, and around 60 percent of victims said they were targeted because of their gender or ethnicity, according to the findings of a new report from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Using data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ National Crime Victimization Survey, the report indicated that 33 percent of all hate crime victims during that time period said they were targeted because of their ethnicity, while 29 percent attributed it to their gender. Additionally, 48 percent of such crimes were prompted by racial bias — a decrease of 14 percent from 2003 to 2007.

Whereas only 25 percent of non-hate crimes from 2011 to 2015 involved a violent act, 90 percent of hate crimes included some form of violence — most often, assault. Hispanics experienced a higher rate of violent hate crimes than non-Hispanic whites and African Americans, according to the report. Additionally, 46 percent of all incidents between 2011 and 2015 were perpetrated by a stranger, and nearly 45 percent were handled by someone other than law enforcement.

The Hate Crimes Subcommittee also found that between 2004 and 2015, hate crimes averaged 250,000 per year. Incidents occurred most often in urban areas and were more common in the West, and men and women experienced incidents at similar rates.

Convened in April by Attorney General Jeff Sessions in response to an executive order signed by President Donald Trump in February, the Hate Crimes Subcommittee’s mission is to better protect the rights of Americans by developing “a plan to appropriate hate crimes,” according to a statement from Sessions. After releasing its findings, the subcommittee met recently for a one-day summit to discuss how to address and reduce such incidents.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, in the 10 days following the 2016 presidential election, nearly 900 incidents of hate or bias occurred, and from November 9 to March 31, that number was 1,863. Of those, 330 took place on college campuses.