Wednesday, October 29, 2008
There were 7,624 hate crimes reported in 2007, down 1% from 2006. Crimes based on sexual orientation — 1,265 in 2007 — have been rising since 2005.
A hate crime is one motivated by bias against a person's race, religion, sexual orientation or other status.
"Until we make laws that make it clear these attacks are not OK, the nation will continue to be scarred," says Neil Giuliano, president of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. In 19 states, hate crime laws don't cover sexual orientation.
Other changes in 2007:
• Race-related incidents, 51% of the reported hate crimes, fell 3%.
• Incidents against Latinos increased for the fourth year, from 426 in 2003 to 595.
• Bias incidents against Asians increased by 4% from 181 to 188.
• Crimes against Muslims declined 26% to 115 incidents, considerably down from 481 in 2001. Jack Levin, a criminologist at Northeastern University, says that drop shows the effect of 9/11 waning.
Latinos and Asians, he says, are likely to be targets as the economy worsens. "Working-class Americans feel they have to compete more with immigrants," Levin says. [Mark Godsey]