A report from Glenn Smith and Natalie Caula Hauff of the local South Carolina news outlet, the Post and Courier, yesterday calls to question the validity of the 2012 FBI Hate Crime statistics report, which is based on data voluntarily provided by law enforcement agencies across the United States.
Smith and Hauff found that just in their neck of the woods, the data backing up the crimes submitted to the FBI is not easy to find, and the FBI itself does not give any details of the crimes, leaving a huge gap for researchers.
In other words, without knowing any details of the crimes themselves, Americans must blindly accept the numbers provided by the FBI.
Smith and Hauff dug a bit deeper, and requested the data from their law enforcement agencies. They write,
“Three agencies — Summerville police, Colleton County Sheriff’s Office and Citadel campus police — said they could not find records of any hate crime incidents last year, despite numbers attributed to them in the FBI report. Summerville Police Capt. Jon Rogers, for example, said the report’s listing of three race-related hate crimes in his town was incorrect. But Stephen G. Fischer, an FBI spokesman, said the report is highly accurate.”
There is a major problem with the statistics themselves, as white offenders and Hispanic offenders are lumped into the “white” category, but Hispanics are still listed separately as victims. This bizarre methodology obviously leads to the perception that white people are the perpetrators of more hate crimes than they actually are.
This is relevant, because a hate crime report in California for 2012, for example, found that “68% of anti-black crimes were committed by Latinos.” But this information is not captured for the official FBI statistics, which would lead readers to believe that these racially motivated hate crimes aimed at black Americans were all perpetrated by white people. Additionally, the report states that “Latinos were targeted by blacks (58%), followed by whites (29%).”
The FBI reported in a press release this week that
“Of the 5,331 known offenders, 54.6 percent were white and 23.3 percent were black. The race was unknown for 11.5 percent, and other races accounted for the remaining known offenders.”
Do these statistics only include convicted hate crimes? If so, how is it possible that the race is “unknown” for over ten percent of the offenders? And how is it possible that in those cases, bias motivation is known?
Additionally, there is a trend of fake hate crime reporting. By adding hate crimes that have not been fully investigated, isn’t it possible that some of these may make their way into the official FBI report?
The “Crimes against society” category is included, as well, “which includes drug or narcotic offenses, gambling offenses, prostitution offenses, and weapon law violations.” When is prostitution a hate crime?
Additionally, anything from vandalism to murder can be added as a hate crime, which is significant because the levels of criminality are not considered as far as spotting trends.
For example, according to the California report, of the white supremacy hate crimes (16%), the “vast majority” were “against property and were of a non-violent nature.” Also, even though there are less white victims of hate crimes, they are much more likely to be victims of violent hate crimes.
Wouldn’t it make sense to distinguish violent hate crimes from non-violent hate crimes in the reporting?
The FBI statistics note that “of the 6,718 reported hate crime offenses in 2012, 28.4 percent were destruction/damage/vandalism.” So, would anonymous graffiti of a swastika, for example, count as a “hate crime” and be given just as much weight as an act of physical violence?
It seems so.
Another elephant in the room deals with a mentality expressed by some in law enforcement that white people cannot be the victim of hate crimes.
This summer, the Examiner reported on the horrific beating of two young men in New Jersey by a group of Hispanic men. The family in that case were informed by police that “hate crimes don’t happen to white people,” despite the fact that the young men were not robbed and the perpetrators were never captured.
It should also be noted that once again, the vast majority of anti-religious hate crimes, 62.4 percent, were inflicted on Jewish people.
Perhaps the FBI statistics can be helpful as a guide, but this author would take their findings with more than a grain of salt.