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Hate crime reports drop in 2007, but sexual-orientation bias crimes up: FBI

[JURIST] Reports of hate crimes dropped approximately one percent in 2007 from the previous year but incidents of sexual-orientation bias crimes increased by six percent, according to the 2007 Hate Crime Statistics [report; press release] released by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) [official website] Monday. The FBI reported 7,621 single-bias hate crime incidents -- those in which one or more offense types are motivated by the same bias -- in 2007, down from 7,720 in 2006 [FBI report; JURIST report]. The drop does not necessarily reflect an actual decrease in hate crimes perpetrated in the US as the number of law enforcement agencies that participate in the study varies from year to year, though more agencies participated this year than last. Racial discrimination accounted for 50.8 percent of all reported hate crimes, followed by religious bias with 18.4 percent and sexual-orientation bias with 16.6 percent. Crimes motivated by ethnicity/national origin (13.2%) and disability bias (1%) were also reported. AP has more.

Last year, the US Senate approved an amendment to the 2008 Senate Defense Reauthorization Bill [HR 1585 materials] that would expand federal hate crimes legislation to include violent attacks against people based on their gender or sexuality. The White House threatened to veto [policy statement, PDF] the legislation, arguing [AP report] that there was "no persuasive demonstration of any need to federalize such a potentially large range of violent crime enforcement." Last December, congressional negotiators agreed to remove the language [JURIST report] from the bill.

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