Hate Crimes in Florida Continue to Decrease – US Law News

TALLAHASSEE, FL – LawFuel.com – Attorney General Bill McCollum today released the 2008 Florida Hate Crimes Report, which indicates that reported hate crimes in Florida are at their lowest level since 1997. During the 2008 calendar year, 182 hate crimes were reported by law enforcement agencies, well below the annual average of 267 reported hate crime incidents since reporting began in 1990.

“We can all make a difference in the fight against intolerance and hate,”
said Attorney General McCollum. “I encourage everyone to play an active role in bringing an end to hate crimes in Florida.”

Data in the 2008 Hate Crimes Report was submitted by local law enforcement agencies to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s Audit & Data Collection Unit of the Criminal Justice Information Services Program through the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) information system. Currently,
415 agencies participate in the UCR system.

There are two categories of hate crime offenses: crimes against persons and crimes against property. Crimes against persons accounted for 65.9 percent of all incidents reported in 2008, down slightly from 66.8 percent in 2007, while crimes against property accounted for the remaining 34.1 percent, up slightly from 33.2 percent in 2007.

The report shows not only the number of hate crimes committed, but also the nature of the factors motivating the offenses. During 2008, hate crimes motivated by the victim’s race represented 47.3 percent of all reported hate crimes, followed by religion at 20.9 percent; sexual orientation at 19.2 percent; ethnicity/national origin at 12.1 percent; and mental disability at 0.5 percent. No hate crimes were reported under the categories of physical disability or advanced age.

The Attorney General’s Office of Civil Rights, which compiles the report, also conducts hate crimes training for law enforcement throughout Florida and has developed programs for elementary, middle and high school students to teach them how to recognize hate crimes, how the law protects victims of hate crimes, and how such crimes affect Florida communities.

Attorney General McCollum continues to support better protection for victims of hate crimes and was recently involved in obtaining the support of State Attorneys General for federal hate crimes legislation approved by the U.S. House of Representatives. The Anti-Defamation League commended the Attorney General for his leadership as a principal signature on a letter in support of The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crime Prevention Act (HCPA).

The Attorney General also released a video message on hate crimes, encouraging Floridians to work together to fight against intolerance and hate. The video message is available online at:

A copy of the 2008 Florida Hate Crimes report is available online at:

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