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FBI releases gay
hate-crimes data

FBI releases gay
hate-crimes data

Hate crimes in the United States dropped last year by 6%, the FBI reported, though hate crimes based on sexual orientation accounted for 14.2% of reported incidents.

More than half of all hate crimes were triggered by victims' race, with religion coming in a distant second, the FBI reported Monday, but Joe Solmonese, president of the gay rights group Human Rights Campaign, noted that changes in federal law sought by gay activists would more accurately reflect the extent of anti-LGBT violence.

"Sexual orientation remains the third-highest recorded bias crime in our country, which underscores that antigay hate crimes are a very real problem nationwide," Solmonese said Tuesday in a written statement.

"We urge Congress to pass strong hate-crimes legislation that protects all citizens--including GLBT Americans--so that the federal government can provide aid and support to local law enforcement dealing with these crimes nationwide."

The Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act, passed by the House but stalled in the Senate, would update federal hate-crimes statutes to include sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender and disability.

"While providing valuable data, today's hate-crimes report is incomplete," Solmonese said. "It is critical that all jurisdictions treat these crimes seriously and report hate-crimes statistics to the FBI and the public. The numbers of antigay hate crimes also indicate the need for state and local governments to do more to prevent and investigate hate crimes. Bias-motivated crimes require a comprehensive response at every level of government."

The vast majority of hate crimes in both 2004 and 2005 were motivated by race, according to the reports, which detailed the data based on so-called single-bias incidents. That means the crime was motivated by only one kind of bias against the victim, according to the FBI.

Victims were assaulted in more than half--50.7%--of the hate-crime cases reported. Six people were murdered, and another three were raped in reported hate crimes last year. The rest of the victims--48.9%--were intimidated, the report shows.

The FBI also looked at hate-crime incidents in which property was targeted, with 81.3% of cases resulting in damage, destruction, or vandalism. Sixty percent of the known offenders in 2005 were white, and 20% were black, the report showed.

The data was collected from city, county, state, tribal, and federal law enforcement agencies across the United States. (AP, with additional reporting by The Advocate)

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