Monday, October 17, 2005

New FBI hate crimes statistics show little change on crimes committed against gays

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According to an article on, new hate crimes statistics from the Federal Bureau of Investigation show little change in the amount of anti-gay hate crimes committed in the United States. According to the article:
The FBI Uniform Crime Report shows cites 738 hate crimes committed against gay men and 164 were against lesbians. That is a six percent drop from the previous year. The FBI does not track crimes against transsexuals. A similar report by the New York-based Gay & Lesbian Anti-Violence Project shows a four percent increase in crimes against gays and lesbians. "The to figures - the FBI decrease and the Violence Project increase shows that nothing has changed," Clarence Patton of the Gay & Lesbian Anti-Violence Project told "Both figures are within the margin of error." The FBI bases its statistics on a compilation of crime data reported by nearly all state and local law enforcement agencies for 2004 while the Violence Project uses figures submitted by local LGBT groups across the country. Patton said that a longstanding wariness by gays of reporting crimes to police likely accounts for the differences between the two studies. Gays have traditionally not reported crimes to police because of fears of being outed or that police will not pursue the cases. Patton said that gays are more likely to report crimes against them to LGBT community organizations. "We can't tell how long it will take before the FBI realizes it must work more consistently with community based advocacy groups because we're going to get more reporting," Patton said. "Hate violence remains a major problem for our community," he said.
LGBT activists are using the new figures to push the United States Senate to pass the hate crimes legislation passed by the House of Representatives last month (see earlier post, "Hate Crimes legislation passes US House as UNCG PRIDE! celebrates Hate Crimes Awareness Day"). A spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign ( told News, "We need a hate crimes law that includes gays and lesbians and gender identity... We need this bill enacted into law to ensure the strongest possible penalties against hate crimes." According to the article:
Called the Local Law Enforcement Enhancement Act it has passed the Senate in previous congressional sessions only to die in the House. A Senate version of the bill is currently before the chamber, but unlike the House bill it does not include the transgendered. The legislation extends existing hate crimes laws that already cover crimes motivated by race, color, national origin and religion. If enacted it would allow the Department of Justice to assist local authorities in investigating and prosecuting cases in which violence occurs.
===== I think it is a very good sign that the US House of Representatives passed the Local Law Enforcement Enhancement Act, especially since it had never passed it before. Maybe our national, elected officials are beginning to see that LGBT Americans do deserve protection.