WASHINGTON (JTA) — The 2012 edition of the FBI’s national Hate Crime Statistics Act report is flawed due to underreporting and a lack of participation, the Anti-Defamation League said.
The ADL in a statement Monday “expressed profound disappointment” that more than 25 percent of the nation’s law enforcement agencies did not provide the FBI with their hate crime numbers, calling it “a significant setback in the progress our nation has made in hate crime data collection over the past decade.”
The 5,796 hate crimes documented in the report represented a 7 percent decrease from 2011 and the lowest number of reported hate crimes since the program started in 1991.
However, ADL National Director Abraham Foxman said “this comparison is misleading because of extreme underreporting by law enforcement agencies.”
Foxman called for governmental officials, police departments and civil rights leaders to work to obtain the missing data.
“We will also urge Congress, the Justice Department, and the FBI to explore new steps that could be taken to ensure more accurate, helpful statistics,” he said.
“When an agency does not participate in the HCSA program, it inevitably raises questions about whether that agency is truly ready and willing to respond to hate violence effectively.”
Some 674 anti-Semitic incidents were reported in the 2012 report, nearly two-thirds of the attacks against religious groups.
Hate Crime Statistics Act reporting has been voluntary since 1991. Some 13,022 law enforcement agencies out of approximately 18,000 provided data to the FBI in 2012. By comparison, approximately 14,500 agencies reported in 2011.
The ADL poll “American Attitudes Toward Jews in America,” which was conducted in 2013 after a two-year hiatus, found that 12 percent of Americans hold very anti-Semitic attitudes, down from 15 percent in 2011.