The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program released its annual hate crime statistics December 8, reporting 92 incidents of disability motivated hate crimes in 2013.
The figure is slightly lower than that of 2012, when 106 disability related hate crimes were reported. Overall, reported hate crimes dropped from 6,573 to 5,928 last year, with disability related hate crimes representing 1.4 percent of the total.
Congress passed the first federal hate crimes bill in 1969, allowing for federal jurisdiction over certain crimes motivated by race, color, religion and national origin.
The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crime Prevention Act of 2009 expanded this jurisdiction to crimes motivated by a person’s disability, as well as discrimination based on a person’s sexual orientation, gender and gender identity.
While some advocates are optimistic that the number decreased, others remained concerned that the data is incomplete.
“Even with record high participation, underreporting remains a problem,” said Barry Curtiss-Lusher and Abraham H. Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League in a statement. “Thousands of police departments did not report data to the FBI, and of those that did, only about 12 percent reported one or more hate crimes to the Bureau.
“Over 80 cities with over 100,000 in population either did not participate in the reporting program, or affirmatively reported zero hate crimes to the FBI – which would be welcome news, but seems unlikely.”