No Rise in Hate-Crime Rate Since 2004

In spite of what the media tells you.

There was no significant rise in American “hate crimes” between 2004 and 2015, according to a new analysis from the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS). But the types of prejudice suspected in such incidents has shifted, with crimes peceived to be motivated by racial bias on the wane but those seen as motivated by gender or gender-identity bias spiking.

Despite the now-popular perception that bias-based violence is getting worse overall, “the rate of violent hate crime victimization” in 2015 “was not significantly different from the rate in 2004,” BJS reports. And this absence of a statistically significant change “held true for violent hate crimes both reported and unreported to police.”

The Department of Justice (DOJ) defines hate crimes as those “that manifest evidence of prejudice based on race, gender or gender identity, religion, disability, sexual orientation, or ethnicity.”

The new BJS analysis report is based on data from the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), which relies on surveying a representative sample of U.S. residents, as well as the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) survey, which includes crime reports from law-enforcement agencies. UCR data relies on the DOJ definition of hate crimes, while the crime-victimization survey includes crimes perceived by victims to be motivated by a bias related to race, gender, etc.

About 41 percent of people who reported hate crimes on NCVS surveys during 2003-15 said they filed a police report about the incident, and about 14 percent of these incidents (14,380) were designated by police to be hate crimes. The remaining 86 percent “were classified as hate crimes in the NCVS because the offender used hate language or left hate symbols at the crime scene,” the BJS notes.