There were 7,489 hate crimes in the United States last year, according to an annual report from the FBI released on Monday. More than 1,200 of the crimes were based on sexual orientation, including 783 against gay men. The overall total in 2003 was slightly above the number reported in 2002.
Nearly two thirds of the crimes committed were described as intimidation, vandalism, or property destruction. But there were also hundreds of violent crimes, including 14 murders--six of those the murders of gay men. There were more than 2,700 assaults; 444 bias-related robberies, burglaries, and thefts; and 34 arson incidents.
Hate crimes motivated by antiblack racial bias totaled 2,548 in 2003, more than double such crimes against all other racial groups combined. The report also shows that crimes categorized as anti-Islamic remained at the about same level in 2003--149 crimes--as the year before. By far the most hate crimes based on religion were directed at Jews, with 927 incidents in 2003, about the same as in 2002.
The FBI hate-crimes report is drawn from information submitted by more than 11,900 law enforcement agencies around the country. Only about 16% of those agencies reported any hate crimes in their jurisdictions during 2003.