Using Data to Address the Threat
In addition to investigating hate crimes, the FBI also works to collect reliable data on hate crimes. This data comes from federal, state, local, tribal, and college and university law enforcement agencies nationwide.
In a recent news article, the Criminal Justice Information Services Division of the FBI described the history of the hate crimes statistics program, how law enforcement agencies collect and report their data, and how law enforcement can use data to inform their hate crimes operations.
Did you know:
- The FBI began collecting hate crimes data around 1990, as part of the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program.
- The data includes bias crimes motivated by race/ethnicity/ancestry, religion, sexual orientation, disability, gender, and gender identity.
- While federal law requires the FBI to collect hate crime data from state, local, tribal, and college/university law enforcement, the law does not require those agencies to submit data to the FBI. Their participation in the FBI collection is voluntary. However, participation is mandatory for federal law enforcement agencies.
- Law enforcement agencies report a bias crime to the FBI UCR Program only if an investigation finds objective facts to show the crime was bias-motivated.
- Law enforcement agencies use a two-tiered decision-making process:
- the first-level or responding officer identifies if there may be an indication of bias, and
- a second-level officer reviews the facts and decides whether to report the incident as a hate crime.
- The FBI publishes hate crimes statistics every year in November.
How does reporting build trust with the public?
Dependable data helps law enforcement and the government to:
- Identify challenges and direct resources to combat these crimes;
- Support crime victims;
- Give leaders and the public information to understand hate crimes in their communities; and
- Provides the public and law enforcement with hate crime information by location, number of incidents, and bias type.
The FBI UCR Program relies on federal, state, local, tribal, and college/university law enforcement agencies nationwide to submit hate crime data. Reporting this data demonstrates agencies’ openness and transparency with the communities they serve. Reliable statistics help the FBI to provide a representative picture of hate crime to inform, educate, and strengthen communities.
For more information about hate crimes reporting to the FBI’s UCR program, see Challenges to hate crime UCR reporting: What do the data say?