2015 Hate Crime Statistics from the FBI
What constitutes a war on cops?
What constitutes a war on Muslims?
By Leonard A. Sipes, Jr.
Thirty-five years of supervising public affairs for national and state criminal justice agencies. Former Senior Specialist for Crime Prevention for the Department of Justice’s clearinghouse. Former Director of Information Management for the National Crime Prevention Council. Post Master’s degree-Johns Hopkins University.
“Oh my God,” said a friend in D.C. “Did you see the new numbers on hate crimes? There’s a war on Muslims, and it’s all Trump’s fault.”
I previously wrote that there wasn’t a “war on cops” and was soundly criticized for the observation. I will make a similar argument that there isn’t a “physical war” on Muslims based on the relatively small numbers involved. Increases when numbers are small make for percentage surges.
We are in an age of culture wars where we feel a desperate need to take sides and fight our battles in the media and social media. As to Muslims, it validates some who feel that the election of Donald Trump ushers in a new era of hate based on his campaign statements.
It’s concurrently important to some to make a case for cops who are facing increased deaths and injuries. Any death or injury involving a police officer is tragic and unacceptable, but there is a difference between a “war” and percentage increases based on small numbers. It’s the same for any group cited in the FBI’s hate crime statistics.
Yes, we know that the FBI’s hate crimes statistics are an undercount in the same way we know that anything the FBI creates regarding data is an undercount. Telling us that is like stating that the sun rises in the morning. If you want precise national data as to crime (or hate crimes), be prepared for extraordinary increases in budget or implement a national police force.
There is a point in any article like this where an obligatory statement is required as to how any crime based on religion, race sexual orientation etc. is morally repugnant, but that is another “sun rises in the morning” statement.
I will vigorously defend my Muslim, black, gay and Jewish friends and family members, but suggesting that there is a physical war against Muslims is simply a grand overstatement that plays nicely into anti-Trump rhetoric.
When we discuss the great social problems of our day, we have an obligation to be contextually accurate. If by saying that there isn’t a war on cops, and my friends in law enforcement are appalled, so be it.
The same applies to hate crimes. While there is a social insanity that applies to any individual who attacks anyone based on his or her group affiliation; there isn’t a war on anyone based on the numbers. While some (like cops) may feel strongly that there “is” a cultural war; it’s not a physical confrontation.
FBI Reports Sharp Increase in Hate Crimes Against Muslims per Politico
Hate crimes against Muslims in America soared 67 percent in 2015, according to an FBI report released Monday. Overall, hate crime surged (emphasis added) nearly 7 percent last year, reports Politico. The bureau’s Uniform Crime Report, which catalogs data about hate crimes, documented 257 anti-Muslim hate crimes — up from 154 in 2014 — and 5,850 total incidents reported to police last year, a 6.8 percent increase over the 5,479 incidents reported in 2014.
The data expanded on previous findings of an alarming (emphasis added) rise in some types of crimes tied to the vitriol of this year’s presidential campaign and the aftermath of terrorist attacks since 2015, says the New York Times. That trend appears to have spiked in just the last week, with civil rights groups and news organizations reporting dozens of verbal or physical assaults on minorities and others that appear to have been fueled by divisions over the election.
More than 1,000 incidents each were reported in 2015 based on religious bias and bias against sexual orientation. A majority of those religious cases — 53 percent — involved anti-Semitism, and 21 percent were anti-Muslim, a group of people President-elect Donald Trump alienated last December when he called for “a total and complete shutdown” of Muslim immigration.
All but 19 of the 1,053 incidents regarding sexual orientation were anti-LGBT. The New York Times reported that the statistics give an incomplete picture because many local agencies still have a spotty record of reporting hate crimes, 26 years after Congress directed the Justice Department to begin collecting the data. Politico
Excerpt from The Crime Report at http://thecrimereport.org/
There may be a reevaluation of the role of law enforcement due to questionable police shootings, and there will always be detractors who will question the role of cops.
But a war on cops? There may be a psychological “war,” (more of a national reevaluation) but a physical “war” based on the numbers is overstating the case. The 1920s were the deadliest decade in law enforcement history, when a total of 2,437 officers died, or an average of almost 243 each year. The deadliest year in law enforcement history was 1930, when 304 officers were killed. That figure dropped dramatically in the 1990s, to an average of 162 per year.
Firearms-related fatalities (32) spiked 78 percent in the first half of 2016 from 18 during the same period last year, but those are based on small numbers (yes, every death of a police officer is monumentally important). Small numbers are subject to change and even slight variations create large percentages increases or decreases. Thus using the term, “war” is not justified, or not justified yet.
Hate Crimes Against Muslims
Pew Research Center estimates that there were about 3.3 million Muslims of all ages living in the United States in 2015. This means that Muslims made up about 1% of the total U.S. population (about 322 million people in 2015), and we estimate that that share will double by 2050.
So out of 3.3 million Muslims, there were 301 hate crime “offenses,” different from the 257 “incidents” reported by Politico.
Hate crimes against Muslims in America soared 67 percent in 2015, according to an FBI report released Monday. Overall, hate crime surged nearly 7 percent last year, reports Politico.
According to the FBI report, there were 695 hate crime offenses against Jews, gays had 758, lesbians had 168, mixed had 235, and African-Americans had 2,125, see https://ucr.fbi.gov/hate-crime/2015/tables-and-data-declarations/4tabledatadecpdf.
Thus Muslims may have a striking percentage increase, but the numbers remain small; there is nothing here suggesting a war on Muslims in America. Yes, it’s an undercount, but we already addressed that.
While I am not suggesting that Politico used the term “war on Muslims,” many others are; i.e., “Donald Trump’s Deplorables Wage a War on Muslims.” Google the term and associated descriptions.
Where Muslims and many Americans may be justifiably concerned about group-based rhetoric, and where we are all ready to defend any American’s right to be who they are without fear, there is no physical war on Muslims. Yes, all forms of discrimination are immensely sad and unjustifiable.
Hate may be on the increase, but “war” is an unjustifiable overstatement. I will get disparaging statements in a variety of forums for my observations, but contextual observations are necessary if we are to truly defend the rights of all Americans.
While everyone on the right and left are determined to have a say, it’s up to all of us to make our cases responsibly.
The trust factor for the media is at an all-time low. Context and accuracy remains important. You may love Donald Trump, you may hate Donald Trump, but you still have an obligation to logically and accurately report data.
FBI hate crime statistics full report at https://ucr.fbi.gov/hate-crime/2015/home/topic-pages/incidentsandoffenses_final
Crime in America at http://crimeinamerica.net
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