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Anti-Semitism in the United States: FBI Hate Crime Statistics 2003

A hate crime, also known as a bias crime, is a criminal offense committed against a person, property, or society which is motivated, in whole or in part, by the offender's bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, or ethnicity/national origin.

- Background
- Participation
- Law Enforcement Reports
- Selected tables [opens in new webpage as a PDF]


On April 23, 1990, Congress passed the Hate Crime Statistics Act. This law required the Attorney General to collect data “about crimes that manifest evidence of prejudice based on race, religion, sexual orientation, or ethnic-ity.” The Attorney General delegated the responsibilities of developing the proce-dures for implementing, collecting, and managing hate crime data to the Direc-tor of the FBI, who in turn assigned the tasks to the UCR Program. Under the direction of the Attorney General and with the cooperation and assistance of many local and state law enforcement agencies, the UCR Program created a hate crime data collection system to comply with the congressional mandate. The UCR Program’s first publication on the subject was Hate Crime Statistics, 1990: A Resource Book, which was a compilation of hate crime data reported by 11 states that had collected them under state authority in 1990 and were willing to offer their data as a prototype. The UCR Program continued to work with agencies familiar with investigat-ing hate crimes and collecting related information so that it could develop and implement a more uniform method of data collection on a nationwide scale. Hate Crime Statistics, 1992, presented the first data reported by law enforce-ment agencies across the country that participated in UCR hate crime data col-lection. Lawmakers amended the Hate Crime Statistics Act to include bias against persons with disabilities by pass-ing the Violent Crime and Law Enforce-ment Act of 1994 in September of that year. The FBI started gathering data for the additional bias type on January 1, 1997. Finally, the Church Arson Prevention Act, which was signed into law in July 1996, removed the sunset clause from the original statute and mandated that hate crime data collection become a permanent part of the UCR Program.

The designers of the national hate crime data collection program sought to capture information about the types of bias that motivate crimes, the nature of the offenses, and some information about the victims and offenders. In creating the program, the designers recognized that hate crimes are not separate, dis-tinct crimes; instead, they are traditional offenses motivated by the offender’s bias. (For example, an offender assaults a victim because he is biased against the victim’s race.) After much consid-eration, the developers agreed that hate crime data could be derived by capturing the additional element of bias in those offenses already being reported to the UCR Program. Attaching the collection of hate crime statistics to the established UCR data collection procedures, they concluded, would fulfill the directives of the Hate Crime Statistics Act without placing an undue additional reporting burden on law enforcement and, in time, would develop a substantial body of data about the nature and frequency of bias crimes occurring throughout the Nation.


Law enforcement’s support and participation have been the most vital factors in moving the hate crime data collection effort from concept to reality. The International Association of Chiefs of Police, the National Sheriffs’ Association, the former UCR Data Providers Advisory Policy Board (which is now part of the Criminal Justice Information Services Advisory Policy Board), the International Association of Directors of Law Enforcement Standards and Training, and the Association of State UCR Programs all have endorsed the UCR Program’s hate crime program. In addition to this support, thousands of law enforcement agencies nationwide make a crucial contribution to the national Program’s success because it is the officers within these agencies who investigate offenses, determine whether a hate crime was committed, and report the offense as a known hate crime.

In 2003, more than 17,000 city, county, and state law enforcement agen-cies reported crime data to the national UCR Program via Summary report-ing or the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS). Of that total, 11,909 law enforcement agen-cies voluntarily submitted data to the hate crime program either through state UCR Programs or directly (agencies in non-Program states). (Appendix B of this publication provides a directory of state UCR Programs.) Those agencies that participated in the hate crime data collection program represented nearly 241 million inhabitants, or 82.8 percent, of the Nation’s population, and their jurisdictions covered 49 states and the District of Columbia. The table on the following page presents the number of agencies participating in UCR and hate crime reporting by population group and the population covered collectively by those agencies within each group.

Law Enforcement Reports

The UCR Program collects data for crimes motivated by biases against a race, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity/national origin, or disability.During 2003, 11,909 law enforcement agencies provided the UCR Program with 1 to 12 months of hate crime reports. Of those agencies, 1,967 agen-cies (16.5 percent) reported 7,489 hate crime incidents involving 8,715 offens-es, 9,100 victims, and 6,934 known offenders. (See Tables 1 and 12.)


Within the 7,485 single-bias inci-dents reported in 2003, 51.4 percent of the hate crime incidents were com-mitted because of the offenders’ racial bias. Nearly 18 percent (17.9) were due to religious bias, 16.6 percent were attributed to sexual-orientation bias, and 13.7 percent occurred because of an ethnicity/national origin bias. Disability bias motivated 0.4 percent of single-bias incidents. (Based on Table 1.)

In 2003, the single-bias hate crime incidents reported to law enforcement involved 8,706 offenses. The 4 multiple-bias incidents that officers reported in 2003 encompassed 9 different offenses.


In the hate crime data collection pro-gram, the term victim may refer to a person, a business, an institution, or, in some cases, society as a whole.

Law enforcement agencies reported 3,139 bias-motivated offenses against property during 2003. A review of these offenses by victim type revealed that 52.1 percent were directed at indi-viduals, 11.2 percent were directed at a business or financial institution, and 7.4 percent were directed at a religious orga-nization. In addition, 7.0 percent were directed against government, and 0.1 percent of these offenses were directed at society or the public. Law enforce-ment categorized the remaining 22.3 percent of offenses against property as those directed against other/unknown/multiple victim types. (Based on Table 6.)


For the 2003 report, law enforcement identified 9,100 victims of 8,715 criminal offenses within 7,489 separate incidents. The following summarizes the data concerning victims of hate crimes as contributed by participating agencies.

Law enforcement reported that 1,426 single-bias hate crime offenses resulted from a religious bias: 69.2 percent were an anti-Jewish bias, 10.9 percent were an anti-Islamic bias, 8.3 percent were an anti-other (unspecified) religion bias, 5.5 percent were an anti-Catholic bias, 3.5 percent were an anti-Protestant bias, and 0.9 percent were an anti-atheism/agnosticism bias. Nearly 2 percent (1.8) of anti-religious hate crime offenses in 2003 were due to a bias against groups of individuals of varying religions (multiple religions, group). (Based on Table 1.)

Of the 1,489 victims of single-bias crimes motivated by religious intolerance during 2003, 68.8 percent were victims of anti-Jewish bias. Victims of anti-Islamic bias comprised 11.5 percent of religious-bias victims. Anti-Catholic bias prompted offenses against 5.4 percent of victims of religious bias, and anti-Protestant bias initiated crimes against 3.6 percent of the religious-bias victims.


As defined by the UCR hate crime data collection program, the term known offender does not imply that the suspect’s identify is known but that an attribute of the suspect is identified which distinguishes him or her from an unknown offender. On the Hate Crime Incident Report form, reporting agencies can specify the number of offenders and, when possible, the apparent race of the offender (or offenders as a group).

In 2003, a total of 6,934 known offenders were identified in 7,489 bias-motivated incidents. (See Table 1.) Of the known offenders, 62.3 percent were white and 18.5 percent were black. Groups comprised of individuals of varying races (multiple races, group) accounted for 6.3 percent of known offenders. Reporting agencies identified Asian/Pacific Islander as the race for 1.3 percent and American Indian/Alaskan Native for 0.9 percent of the known offenders. For 10.7 percent of known offenders, the attribute of race was unknown. (Based on Table 9.)

Of the 5,543 known offenders who perpetrated crimes against persons in 2003, 40.3 percent committed simple assault, 36.5 percent committed intimidation, and 22.3 percent commit-ted aggravated assault. Of the 1,558 known offenders who perpetrated crimes against property, 66.9 percent carried out acts of destruction/damage/vandalism, 16.4 percent committed robbery, and 6.7 percent committed larceny-theft. In 2003, 92 known offenders committed 59 hate crime offenses that agencies report-ed as crimes against society. (Based on Table 2)

Source: FBI