ADL: FBI hate crimes statistics 'seriously flawed'

Jews represented the most targeted faith, comprising 62.4 percent of victims, but statistics incomplete, Foxman argues.

Abe Foxman 370 (photo credit: SAM SOKOL)
Abe Foxman 370
(photo credit: SAM SOKOL)
The Anti-Defamation League has called into question the validity of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s newly released national hate crime statistics on Monday, calling them incomplete.
According to the FBI’s 2012 national Hate Crime Statistics Act (HCSA), an annual publication drawing on law enforcement records from across the United States, 5,796 hate crimes were committed in 2012, a 7 percent decline over 2011.
These figures according to the ADL, the lowest rate since the program’s inception in 1991, do not take into account hate crimes committed within the jurisdictions of a quarter of American law enforcement agencies.
Reporting such statistics to the FBI is purely voluntary and “only 13,022 law enforcement agencies out of approximately 18,000 provided data to the FBI in 2012,” the ADL stated. 1,478 additional agencies contributed records in 2011.
Expressing his organization’s “profound disappointment” in the agencies that declined to participate in the study, ADL National chairman Abraham Foxman called the FBI report a “significant setback in the progress that has been made over the past decade.”
“Especially disappointing is the fact that the report contains no data from jurisdictions that had been models for national response in the past,” he said. “The Justice Department and the FBI should use every resource at their disposal to push harder to obtain this missing data, urging those cities and states that still have not provided their 2012 hate crime data to do so as quickly as possible.”
The ADL stated that it is working with partners to “reboot the HCSA collecting and reporting program” and is urging retraining for law enforcement in order to ensure more comprehensive reporting in the future.
“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,” Foxman alleged.
According to the HCSA 2012 report, 1,340 people, or 18.7% of victims of hate crimes, were targeted due to their religious beliefs. Jews represented the most targeted faith, comprising 62.4%. Jews were followed by Muslims at 11.6%.
There were 674 anti-Jewish incidents nationwide constituting 696 criminal offenses, the FBI reported.
Almost half of all hate crimes were racially motivated, followed by 19.2% of them due to sexual orientation. 12.1% were targeted due to national origin or ethnicity and 1.4% fell victims due to their disabilities.
“Simple assault” accounted for nearly 40% of those reported and “most hate crime incidents (32.6%) occurred in or near homes,” the FBI stated in its release announcing the report.
The FBI’s figures are lower than those cited by the ADL in their annual audit, released in July. According the ADL 2012 saw 17 physical assaults, 470 cases of harassment or threats and 440 cases of vandalism in which the target was Jewish and the motive allegedly hatred.
While reporting an overall decline, anti-Semitic incidents spiked in New York last year, the ADL found. A total of 248 instances were recorded, amounting to a 28% increase.
At the time the ADL said that the number of physical assaults has remained relatively stable.
According to the Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry’s 2012 analysis of worldwide anti- Semitism, white supremacy, which has been on the rise since 2009, is one of the major sources of anti-Semitism in the United States.
Foxman called the ADL’s July figures an encouraging sign, stating at the time that American Jews have seen “a fairly consistent decline in the number of anti-Semitic incidents in the United States.”Michael Wilner contributed to this report.