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For immediate release: Thursday, Dec. 30, 2010
Annual report shows increase in reported hate crimes statewide in 2009
Most crimes motivated by bias against Jews, blacks, gays and Hispanics
Reported hate crime incidents increased approximately 14 percent statewide in 2009, most often targeting Jews, blacks, gays and Hispanics, according to a report released today by the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS).
The Hate Crime in New York State 2009 Annual Report details hate crimes reported by county, the number of hate crime arrests, offenses associated with the arrests and disposition data on those arrests. According to the report:
- Between 2008 and 2009, reported hate crimes in New York State increased approximately 14 percent.
- Reported hate crimes were most frequently motivated by anti-Jewish (37 percent), anti-black (21 percent), anti-male homosexual (12 percent), and anti-Hispanic (6 percent) bias.
- Most hate crime incidents involved destruction, damage, vandalism (44 percent) or intimidation (26 percent).
- New York City reported 275 hate crime incidents and 53 hate crime arrests; the rest of the state reported 394 incidents and 126 arrests.
- In the 138 arrests in which a disposition was reported (through October 2010), 87 resulted in a conviction. Of the remaining 51 cases, 86 percent were dismissed.
- Nearly 30 percent of those convicted after a hate crime arrest were sentenced to either jail or prison, and 18 percent were sentenced to probation; 33 percent received a conditional discharge.
“A hate crime is an offense not only against a specific individual, but against an entire community,” said DCJS Acting Commissioner Sean M. Byrne. “In order to combat this form of domestic terrorism, we first need to know the extent of the problem. This report provides information and data that will help lawmakers and law enforcement formulate policies and strategies.”
The report, compiled by the DCJS Office of Justice Research and Performance from data submitted by local and state police and sheriff’s offices, shows that a total of 683 hate crimes were reported to police in 43 of the state’s 62 counties in 2009, as compared with 599 in 35 counties the year before. New York City’s five counties – Bronx, Kings, New York, Queens and Richmond – accounted for 40 percent of all reported hate crimes last year.
Over the past two years, DCJS has been working in partnership with law enforcement to improve the quality of information available on hate crime incidents. Reporting procedures for these crimes were improved last year, and in 2010, staff members from law enforcement agencies across the state were trained on those new procedures.
In addition, more than 300 law enforcement officers from across the state attended six DCJS-sponsored trainings on identifying and investigating hate crimes. The state’s Municipal Police Training Council also has approved a hate crime model policy that agencies can adopt as a best practice for responding to, and investigating, these incidents. As a result, these efforts have contributed to an increase in reporting for some agencies.
Of the 683 reported hate crime incidents statewide, more than half – 359 – involved crimes against a person, with intimidation and simple assault being the most commonly reported offense. Of the 359 crimes against a person, 83 were anti-black, 72 were anti-Jewish; 71 were anti-gay male and 35 were anti-Hispanic. Of the 324 crimes against property, 94 percent of them involved property destruction, damage or vandalism. The bulk of those crimes – 208 – were motivated by bias against religion, with 86 percent of them (179 incidents) reported as anti-Jewish.
The report also addresses hate crime arrests made in 2009, and the disposition of those arrests. Law enforcement across the state reported 179 hate crime arrests. Nearly three-quarters of all individuals arrested faced either harassment or assault charges: 96 individuals were charged with either harassment or aggravated harassment charges, and another 35 faced first-, second-, or third-degree assault charges.
The state Division of Criminal Justice Services is a multi-function criminal justice support agency with a variety of responsibilities, including collection and analysis of statewide crime data; operation of the DNA databank and criminal fingerprint files; administration of federal and state criminal justice funds; support of criminal justice-related agencies across the state; and administration of the state’s Sex Offender Registry and a toll-free telephone number (1-800-262-3257) that allows anyone to research the status of an offender.