FBI Reports 14 Murders Among 7,489 Hate Crimes

Reuters, Nov. 22

WASHINGTON—Nearly 7,500 hate crimes, including 14 murders based on sexual orientation, race or ethnicity, were reported in the United States last year, the FBI said on Monday.

In an annual report, the FBI said murder accounted for only 0.3 percent of the total number of hate crimes in 2003.

Six of the 14 murders were committed as a result of a sexual-orientation bias, five involved racial prejudice, two were committed because of a bias against an ethnicity and one was the result of a hostility toward a disability, the bureau said.

Intimidation was the most often reported hate crime against an individual followed by simple assault, it said.

Damage, destruction and vandalism was the most frequently reported hate crime offense against property, accounting for 83 percent of all such offenses.

Of the total 7,489 hate crimes reported in 2003, just over half were motivated by racial bigotry. Nearly 18 percent were caused by religious intolerance and nearly 17 percent were the result of a sexual-orientation bias.

The FBI said the crimes were committed by 6,934 reported offenders—just over 62 percent of them white and about 19 percent black.

Nearly 32 percent of the incidents occurred in homes. Another 18 percent took place on highways, roads, alleys or streets, while schools or colleges were the settings of about 12 percent, the FBI said.

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