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1990, United States government passed the Hate Crimes Statistics Act. This mandated that state, local and federal law enforcement agencies report data on crimes that reflected a bias against a person's race, religion, sexual orientation, and/or ethnicity/national origin. Several years later, people with disabilities were added to this list. Data collection was placed under the auger of the FBI, which complied by publishing an annual report through its Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program. This program started to publish a review of national hate crimes in 1990 entitled Hate Crime Statistics, 1990: A Resource Book. By 1992, the publication reflected the reported data of all states. Because certain states, such as Wisconsin, penalize perpetrators more for the same crime if the motivation for that crime is thought to be categorical hatred, statistics reflect the opinions of law enforcement agencies.
Because of this wealth of new data, in addition to the data collected through the most recent decennial census, we are able to compare hate crime statistics to other factors by region that may contribute to the creation of an atmosphere in which hate crimes are more likely. This in turn affects public policy. For instance, in the backlash against people of Islamic faith or Middle Eastern ancestral origin that followed the 9/11 terrorist attacks, federal, state and local law enforcement agencies were able to relay the occurrence of hate crimes to the media, which in turn launched a tolerance campaign aimed at promoting tolerance. As a result, these attacks subsided.
For this study, I have collected data on hate crimes from 25 American cities; specifically, I have collected 2001 data (the most recent available) on hate crimes related to race, religion, sexual orientation and ethnicity and also data for these cities related to racial breakdown, average income, immigrant population, and total population.
The data revealed that only 5 of the 25 cities surveyed had 1.9 or more incidents of hate crime for every 10,000 people. These cities were Boston, San Francisco, Portland, Minneapolis, and Los Angeles. This was interesting in that none of the southern cities mentioned made it into these top five: the highest ranking southern city was Memphis, with.723 hate crimes for every 10 thousand people. Three of the cities with relatively high numbers of reported hate crimes were west coast cities, together with Minneapolis and Boston. Boston had the most overwhelmingly high number of hate crimes, with 3.5 for every 10 thousand people. Of the 2,188 hate crimes reported, over a third of this number, or 763, were race-related. It should be noted that ethnicity and religion-related hate crimes were sometimes hard to distinguish, as in the case of middle-eastern peoples.
Boston was an interesting case. With 209 reported hate crimes, it was third among cities overall in the number of hate crimes committed after Los Angeles and New York. 95 of these crimes were racially motivated, 54 were motivated by ethnicity, 31 by sexual orientation and 29 by religion. This is a relatively large number of crimes for a city that numbers just under 600 thousand. The city is also 54.4% white and over a quarter of its population was born somewhere outside the United States. This is a statistically lower number of white people and a statistically higher number of foreign-born people than other cities in the United States, but not so much as Los Angeles, New York or some other cities. The average number of hate crimes per 10 thousand in cities surveyed was.763.
Some cities featured particularly strongly for certain types of hate crimes, such as violence against homosexuals in San Francisco. This is probably due to a larger gay population. However, crimes against homosexuals, which was smallest in number of all the crimes listed, was not limited to cities with large homosexual populations such as San Francisco, Washington, New York, and Los Angeles. New York had an overwhelming number of crimes associated with religion compared to other factors. Religion-related crimes outnumbered race-related crimes in New York City by nearly 3 to one. This shouldn't be seen as unusual; New York has always been home to religious extremists from a number of different ethnicities, including Jews and Muslims. It should be remembered that for a large part of 2001, when the survey was being conducted, the City had a large contingent of American servicemen actively stationed in…[continue]
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