FBI Notes Decrease In Hate Crimes, Increase In Anti-Gay Violence

The number of hate crimes reported to U.S. law enforcement agencies decreased by 6% from 2010, while anti-LGBT violence increased slightly by 2.6%, according to a new report by the FBI.

Of the 6,222 hate crimes reported in 2011, 1,508 were based on sexual orientation, up from 1,470 in 2010. Nearly 21% of all hate crimes were motivated by sexual orientation, said the FBI, with men most often as the victims.

“The increase in the number of reported hate crimes directed against gays and lesbians, now the second most frequent category of crime, is especially disturbing,” said the Anti-Defamation League.

However, as Jack Levin, a hate-crime expert at Northeastern University, notes, the number could be much higher as many victims are reluctant to report attacks. LGBT victims in particular may fear that police will be insensitive if they report an incident.

“FBI statistics vastly underestimate the actual number of hate crimes committed in the United States,” Levin told the L.A. Times. “When the Justice Department asks victims anonymously whether they have been targeted for hate offenses, they get a figure that approaches 200,000 hate crimes annually.”