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Changes Coming to Hate Crime Reporting

12/10/2012 -

In 2013, the FBI will add new categories to its hate crime reporting criteria to increase accuracy in reporting incidents of bias.

“The new bias categories of gender and gender identity—which added four new bias types—were added to the FBI’s hate crime data collection as a result of theMatthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr., Hate Crimes Prevention Act,” according to an FBI statement announcing the release of 2011’s hate crime statistics.

The FBI’s hate crime statistics come from law enforcement agencies that participate in the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program (UCR). It includes statistics from crimes like vandalism, intimidation, assault, rape, and murder motivated by bias against race, religion, disability, ethnic origin or sexual orientation.

The new bias categories will be part of the UCR program starting next year and the first reports using them will be published in 2014.

"It’s a really important development," said Jennifer Levi, director of the Transgender Rights Project at Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, a legal rights organization. "Transgender people face a tremendous amount of violence in our communities. Without the data to identify when these crimes occur it's hard to get law enforcement to address the crimes."

Also from the report:

1,040hate crime incidents were reported in California in 2011, more than eight times the national average. New York comes second with 544 incidents.

According to the FBI,59 percentof people who committed hate crimes in 2011 were white. Twenty-one percent were black. “The race was unknown for 10.8 percent, and other races accounted for the remaining known offenders.”

There were6,222 criminal incidents involving7,254 offenses in 2011. In 2010 there were 6,628 criminal incidents involving 7,699 offenses.

photo byistolethetv/flickr