Hate crimes in the United States rose nearly 8 percent last year, according to a new FBI study.
In 2006, 7,722 hate crimes were reported, following a year in which the number of hate crimes was the lowest in a decade. More than 1,462 were religious-based crimes; 66 percent of those were directed against Jewish individuals and institutions. The data were collected in accordance with the 1990 Hate Crimes Statistics Act.
The Anti-Defamation League cautioned, however, that those numbers fail to account for 5,000 police departments that did not report their figures to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
“The FBI’s national data collection effort has sparked essential improvements in the response of the criminal justice system to hate violence,” ADL National Director Abraham Foxman said. “Enactment of the pending Local Law Enforcement Hate Crime Prevention Act will supplement these efforts and facilitate more comprehensive hate crime reporting.”
The act to which Foxman referred allows the federal government to provide broader assistance to local officials prosecuting and investigating hate crimes, and to investigate on its own if necessary.
The bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives, 237-180, in May and was included as an amendment to the Department of Defense Authorization bill by the U.S. Senate in September. The Senate and U.S. House of Representatives versions are being reconciled.