After years of increases, decline in hate and anti-government groups may still be bad news
Huffington Post - 02/25/2014
Official government data on hate crime has not shown significant increases in recent years, as crime rates overall have also fallen. The Bureau of Justice Statistics victimization survey of households nationwide found that in the latest year, 2012, there were an estimated 293,800 hate crimes in the United States, an estimate similar to that of 2004’s 281,700. What was striking was a change in who was targeted in those years with a significant increase in those targeted because of ethnicity, religion, and gender. Researchers at Northeastern University posit that changes in hate crime are due to a greater number of reactive offenders who react to international, domestic, or community changes or events. Previously, young people, who are now less prejudiced than previous generations, with shallow prejudices committed hate crime more frequently for peer validation and excitement. In 2012 the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s annual statistical release of hate crimes actually reported and classified as such by police showed a multiyear low of only 5,796 incidents. The report has been criticized because of the high number of agencies reporting zero incidents for numerous cycles and the lack of active participation by many states.