What is a hate crime? According to the Hate Crimes Statistics Act of 1990, hate
crimes are "crimes that manifest evidence of prejudice based on race, religion,
sexual orientation, or ethnicity, including where appropriate the crimes of murder,
non-negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, aggravated assault, simple assault,
intimidation, arson, and destruction, damage or vandalism of property".
other words, a hate crime is a criminal act where the victim was targeted because of their
race, religion, or sexual orientation.
According to the
FBI Report on Hate Crimes
for 1998, 7,755 hate crimes were reported to the FBI by all law enforcement agencies.
65% were race or ethnicity-motivated, two-thirds of which were directed toward
African Americans. This is in comparision to 1995, in which 7,947 hate crimes were
reported. While it is encouraging that hate crimes have not increased over the past
few years, it should be noted that violent crime in the U.S. has decreased substantially
over this time period. This means hate crimes are becoming much more of a source of
violent crime in the U.S.