Maintaining Hate Crime Data Quality
DCJS participates in the national collection of hate crime data, and regularly submits incident data to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program. Information collected includes number of victims, number of offenders, type of bias motivation, type of crime, the crime location, and the type of victim (individual or property). In addition to the data submitted to the FBI, DCJS collects demographic data on both victims and offenders which provide New York with even more information on hate crime. The Hate Crime Incident reporting forms can be accessed here; DCJS also collects information on hate crime arrests and dispositions pursuant to a statutory requirement that is unique to New York State.
Underreporting Hate Crime Incident Data
Hate crimes may be underreported for three reasons:
- Identifying a Hate Crime. To report a crime or charge an arrest, police agencies must document the elements of a crime. Hate crime is classified based on what motivated the crime, in addition to the elements of the crime. If the investigating officer does not identify a bias motivation, or does not reflect a bias motivation on the official incident report, the incident will not be reported to DCJS as a hate crime.
- Hate Crimes Not Reported to the Police. Not all hate crimes are reported to the police, and some individuals or groups may be more likely to report crimes than others. Certain groups, such as undocumented foreign born individuals, may be less likely to report these crimes.
- Hate Crime Reports Not Submitted by Law Enforcement. DCJS works with police agencies to stress the importance of submitting hate crime reports to reduce the likelihood of underreporting.
Hate Crime Incident Reporting
Hate Crime Incident Reporting Form. The New York State instructions for reporting hate crime incidents ensure meaningful information is captured on the victim and location of the reported offense, and that data sent to the FBI is accurate.
- Comprehensive Follow-up When Reports are Not Submitted. DCJS crime reporting staff follows up with all reporting agencies to ensure that a hate crime report is submitted each month. When agencies have no hate crimes to report, they are asked to complete a form and indicate “Nothing to Report.” This ensures that agencies don’t neglect to submit hate crime reports, even if incidents are reported infrequently.
- Ongoing Data Quality Review. DCJS crime reporting staff reviews every hate crime incident report upon receipt. Forms are reviewed for accuracy, and police agencies are contacted to confirm or correct any information that is not clear or not entered properly. Staff contacts agencies when forms are incomplete.