Disability hate crimes increased in 2012

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Photo of a fist with the word HATE tattoed on it.

Hate Crimes Double

The FBI released its annual hate crime statistics November 25, reporting that disability-related hate crimes nearly doubled last year, from 58 to 102.

The increase came even though the overall number of hate crimes decreased from 6,222 to 5,796.

Of the disability-related hate crimes, which accounted for 1.6 percent of all hate crimes, 82 related to mental disability and 20 related to physical disability, according to the FBI statistics.

Under the FBI’s definition, a hate crime as a “criminal offense against a person or property” that is motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias” against a certain population group.

When the FBI first began reporting hate crimes in 1968, it covered crimes motivated by bias against race, religion or ethnicity. In 2009, Congress passed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which expanded the hate crime definition to include crimes motivated by bias against sexual orientation or disability.