Friday, December 3, 2010

Hate Crime Statistics

The FBI released its annual Hate Crimes Statistics in November. On the site you can find data about type of offense, categories of victim (African Americans, Hispanics, sexual minorities, etc.), characteristics of offender, jurisdiction, etc.

Last night, NPR ran a story on the statistics that highlighted their limits: Hate Crime Statistics Lack Key Facts, All Things Considered, Dec. 2, 2010. The statistics can provide some points of comparison year to year, but all the people interviewed agreed that there was significant undercounting. 47 cities with populations over 100,000 reported no hate crimes at all. That probably doesn't mean that those cities had no street harassment, vandalism, or attacks on vulnerable minorities. Jack McDevitt, Director, Institute on Race and Justice at Northeastern University, explained:
What you can't tell is whether - maybe they're helping the victims and they're not just recording the data and sending it to the feds. That's the hope, but maybe it's that they're ignoring the victims and not sending the data into the feds, and that would be the worst case scenario.

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