Hate crimes and bias incidents are a national problem, but there’s no reliable data on their nature or prevalence. We’re collecting and verifying reports, building a database of tips for use by journalists, researchers and civil-rights organizations.
Stories from ProPublica and our partner newsrooms:
We’re assembling a trove of data provided by tips from the public as well as information from law enforcement, news reports, social media and nonprofit organizations. Our database is available, with privacy and security restrictions, to civil-rights groups and journalists and is meant to enrich a national understanding and conversation about hate incidents.
The FBI is required by law to collect data about hate crimes, but the Bureau relies on local law enforcement to collect the data. The consequences are predictable: While the FBI lists about 6,000 hate crimes per year, a survey by the Bureau of Justice Statistics estimates that the number is closer to 250,000.
The impediments to good reporting are many:
More than half of hate crime victims don’t report to police, and when they do, there are relatively few prosecutions. Local police officers are often poorly trained at identifying and reporting hate crimes, and as local jurisdictions aren’t required to report hate incidents to the FBI, state crime reports often exclude many hate crimes. While the majority of local law enforcement agencies nominally participate in the FBI’s data collection program, nearly 90 percent of them said they had no hate crimes at all in 2016.
Victims and witnesses: Have you been a victim of or witnessed a hate incident? Telling your story is important. Your contribution enables you, civil-rights groups and reporters to get a clearer picture of what’s actually happening, enabling us all to work on the problems at hand. We’ll treat your information with utmost care, and we will not share your report with the police. If you’ve got an incident or experience to share, please fill out this form.
Journalists: Reporters at local news outlets in the United States – TV, radio, online and print – can sign up to receive tips to follow up on and report. You’ll get real-time tips about hate incidents, reporting recipes, and invitations to join community calls. We’ll also promote stories you write using this data on the Documenting Hate site and social media accounts.
Civil-Rights Groups: If you are a civil-rights group or service organization serving vulnerable communities and you gather information about hate crimes and bias harassment, we’d like to talk about data-sharing – both getting your data into our database and giving you access to tips relevant to your service mission. If you aren’t collecting stories but would like to, you can contact us to receive free tools and guidance.
France is mourning the death of Mireille Knoll, an 85-year-old Holocaust survivor who was stabbed 11 times in her Paris apartment before her home was set on fire.
Police say the attack on Knoll was a crime of hate, fueled by the ancient fires of anti-Semitism. Two men are in custody, one of them a young neighbor the elderly grandmother had befriended.
The news comes during a season holy to Christians and Jews, and it mirrors data showing that hate crimes are rising in our own state, after years of decline.
Citing data collected through the end of 2016, the State Police study found the targets were predominantly blacks and Jews, each representing about 30 percent of the total reported victims. More than a quarter of the incidents took place in our schools.
Although numbers for 2017 are still being reviewed, N.J. Attorney General Gurbir Grewal predicts that they will reach even higher numbers.
It’s tempting for the many opponents of Donald Trump to blame the 45th president for the frightening rise in bias crimes, but the truth is, many of the local findings pre-date his election.
While many of Trump’s most outrageous actions and statementsbefore and after his inauguration have stoked hatred directed at Muslims, immigrants and various “others,” his presence in the White House is not the cause of intolerance, but a result of it.
Attorney General Grewel sees the increase in New Jersey’s numbers as a complex interweaving of factors.
“The uptick, certainly, is reflective of increased incidents as we see this behavior become normalized and some of the rhetoric we’re seeing nationally,” he told an interviewer. “But it’s also reflective of us better capturing data and encouraging reporting.”
The Garden State has been tracking bias crimes since 1988 and is considered to have one of the most effective systems in the country. But advocates lament that data reports nationwide are inconsistent and insufficiently vetted.
Experts believe police are poorly educated about what constitutes a hate crime. Under-reporting among law enforcement is frequent, the FBI says.
Now dozens of news organizations, including NJ Advance Media and ProPublica, are joining hands to fill in some of the missing pieces.
Project organizers are asking state residents to report incidents of hate, bias or discrimination they experience or witness.
These online reports, which will remain anonymous unless a participant specifies otherwise, are not intended as official reports. Rather, they will provide a broad picture of the kinds of crimes that exist – vandalism, physical assault, threats, hate speech – and where they are occurring.
This is not an attempt to usurp the role of law enforcement in preventing hate crimes, but rather to supplement it. Because you can’t begin to address a problem until you know how large that problem is.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CAIR-NJ Condemns Racist Vandalism Targeting Campaign Poster in Newark
(SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ, 4/2/2018) — The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NJ), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today condemned the racist vandalism of a campaign poster for Newark At-Large Councilman Luis Quintana.
The poster, which hangs about a block away from the Councilman’s office, was defaced with a Nazi swastika painted over a picture of the councilman’s face.
Newark Police are investigating the defaced campaign banner as a bias crime and released photos of a suspect wearing a hooded sweatshirt. The bias-motivated crime was apparently committed on Thursday.
“The hate symbolized by this act of vandalism has no place in New Jersey and cannot be tolerated,” said James Sues, executive director of CAIR-NJ. “This painful reminder of the extreme divisiveness that characterizes the current political climate at the national level should prompt us to remain vigilant in investigating and prosecuting hate crimes as they occur.”
SEE: Vandal turns politician’s face into ‘symbol of hate’ with swastika on campaign sign
CAIR launched an app to share critical “know your rights” information and to simplify the process to report hate crimes and bias incidents. CAIR is urging American Muslims and members of other minority groups to download the app and utilize this resource to stay informed and empowered.
For a quick download of CAIR’s civil rights app, click here: http://www.cair.com/app
CAIR’s mission is to protect civil rights, enhance understanding of Islam, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.
La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.
– END –
The number of bias and hate crimes in New Jersey rose in 2016, mirroring a national trend that many people – including the state’s attorney general – attribute to the campaign and election of Donald Trump.
Attorney General Gurbir Grewal discussed the 417 reported hate crimes in New Jersey in 2016, a nearly 14 percent increase over the prior year, during a forum on the topic at Rutgers University last week. The most recent statistics available that track hate crimes are for 2016.
“It’s sad that we see bias incidents trending upward, but it’s not surprising, given that we have political leaders in this country who encourage the expression of intolerance and hatred, or in other cases, ignore or countenance it,” Grewal said. “What we need to do, as individuals and as a society, is to push back against this prejudice. We need to embrace the diversity that makes us stronger as a state and a nation, and we need to spread a countervailing message of tolerance and unity. To quote Nelson Mandela, ‘No one is born hating another person.’ If people can learn to hate, they also can learn to love and respect one another.”
The New Jersey State Police track hate crimes through the Uniform Crime Report and annually release a Bias Incident Report. All local law enforcement officials report incidents to the state.
Tracking the trend
New Jersey’s increase mimics the national trend. The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s annual hate crimes report showed an increase as well from 2015 to 2016. The 7,321 offenses reported in 2016 were more than 6 percent higher than the number a year earlier.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, bias crimes have been rising since the start of the Trump campaign and right after his election, in part because white supremacists and other nationalists saw an ally in his rhetoric, including “incendiary racial statements, the stoking of white racial resentment and attacks on so-called ‘political correctness.’”
The number of hate crimes in New Jersey had been declining over several years before the spike in 2016. Since 775 incidents were reported in 2010, the number had been dropping and reached just 367 in 2015. The 417 crimes reported in 2016 was the highest number since 2013, when there were 459 known incidents.
Researchers say the number of reported incidents is just a fraction of the total bias crimes that occur as many victims are afraid to report offenses. A report released by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics last June estimated that an average of 250,000 hate crimes occurred every year between 2004 and 2015.
Col. Patrick Callahan, acting superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, said law enforcement officials use the information collected on bias offenses to work more collaboratively and effectively to investigate incidents and make arrests.
“The tracking and reporting of these incidents paint a disturbing picture of intolerance, discrimination and their corresponding criminal acts,” said Callahan. “All residents of this great state should feel free to be who they are without the fear of being victimized because of their race, religion, or any other identifiable status.”
There is a lot of information in the state report on bias crimes. These are some of the most striking statistics reported:
- Middlesex County reported the largest number of incidents, 80, which was more than 14 percent than in 2015. The greatest increase was in Warren County, which logged a 400 percent jump in incidents, from 1 in 2015 to 5 in 2016.
- Police made 55 arrests — 40 adults and 15 juveniles — in connection with bias incidents, mostly harassment or assault. That was a 10 percent increase over 2015.
- The most common offenses were harassment, 186 reported or 45 percent of all, and criminal mischief, 141 reported. There were also 16 cases each of simple assault and making terroristic threats.
- Almost six in 10 crimes, or a total of 249, were directed at people, with the rest property crimes.
- Racial bias was the most frequent type of hate crime, 171 incidents or 41 percent of all. Closely following was religious bias, 166 incidents or 40 percent of the total.
- The groups most often targeted were blacks, 127 crimes, Jewish people, 124 crimes, and Muslims, 26 crimes.
- Bias incidents happened most often in schools, 112 reports, and at a victim’s home, 110.
- About a third of the offenders were juveniles, while fewer than a quarter of the victims were under age 18.
- While four out of 10 incidents involved one person against another, about 19 percent involved graffiti. In 70 cases, or 17 percent, a swastika was drawn or left at a site.
- About 12 percent of crimes, or a total of 48, were directed against homosexuals or bisexuals.
June 26, 2018 6.41am EDT
Published FBI data currently covers hate crimes only up to 2016, when totals increased across the nation for the second year in a row.
Our team of academic researchers specialize in analyzing and forecasting hate crime trends. We have collected new police data from 2017, ahead of the FBI totals, and performed the first analysis of that year’s hate crimes, with a particular emphasis on the 10 largest U.S. cities.
Our investigation found that hate crime totals for the 10 largest cities rose for four straight years to the highest level in a decade. Within these data are intriguing signs about the timing and direction of this bigotry.
Over the past several years, hate crimes have been on the rise in America’s largest cities. According to the FBI, a hate crime is a “criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender or gender identity.”
Nationally, levels in 2014 were the lowest since national reporting began in 1992, according to the FBI. Since then, hate crimes have steadily increased. In 2016, the last year with FBI totals available, hate crimes were up 11.7 percent compared to 2014.
We see three factors behind the moderate overall increases in 2016. First, there was a precipitous spike around the election. Second, on top of sustained levels of hate crimes against African-Americans, and a small increase against Jews, were larger percentage increases against other groups. Third, hate crimes increased by double-digit percentages in several large states, including New York, California, Florida and Illinois.
In 2017, our data show that hate crimes rose 12 percent over 2016 levels in 38 of the largest cities. There were 1,038 hate crimes in the nation’s 10 largest cities – the highest in more than a decade.
In contrast, overall crime dropped slightly in the first half of 2017, according to preliminary FBI figures which show a 0.8 percent drop in violent crime and a 2.9 percent decrease in property crime.
The six most frequently targeted groups in 2016, according to the FBI, were African-Americans; lesbians, gays and bisexuals; whites; Jews; Latinos; and Muslims. Race continued to be the most common category, comprising 57 percent of all hate crimes. Although African-Americans remained the most targeted group, they were at their lowest proportion of all hate crimes since 1992.
Twenty percent of all hate crimes in 2016 targeted religion, driven by increases in anti-Muslim and anti-Semitic attacks. Anti-Muslim hate crimes increased 99 percent between 2014 and 2016 with assaults rising to a record in 2016. Still, religion hate crimes overall remain below previous records.
Our 2017 data from the 10 largest cities, derived mostly from public records requests, reveals that motivation for hate crimes varied in significant ways between the 2016 FBI totals and our later city sample.
Anti-Black, anti-Semitic, anti-gay and anti-Latino were the most common type of hate crimes, but there was some variation. For instance, Jews were the primary target in New York, while lesbian, gay and bisexual persons were the most targeted in Los Angeles.
Hate crime hotspots
Despite consecutive annual increases in hate crimes reported to the FBI, hate crimes in 2016 were still far below 2001’s record high. There were 9,730 incidents in 2001, including a record spike tied to the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Hate crimes in 2016 were down 19.7 percent over the previous 10 years. Meanwhile, overall serious property crime declined by 20 percent and serious violent crime by 12 over the same period.
In 2016, over half of all hate crimes reported to the FBI came from just six states. Only 1,776 of roughly 17,895 police agencies reported at least one hate crime. Many states with the highest percentages of African-Americans – such as Mississippi, Arkansas and Alabama – barely reported any incidents.
In our 2017 hate crime study, we also uncovered several large cities with unusually low numbers of hate crime reports. Miami, Florida reported no hate crimes. Honolulu, Hawaii reported one, while Orlando, Florida reported five and Houston, Texas 11.
Analysis from the Anti-Defamation League found similar reporting disparities. More than 90 of the 307 largest U.S. cities either reported no hate crimes or did not participate in 2016. These variations may have been caused in part by differences in the way cities categorize crimes as hate crimes or by inadequate training and procedures.
The Bureau of Justice Statistics finds that hate crimes are considerably underreported, particularly among vulnerable populations such as disabled Americans. The bureau estimates that the overall frequency of hate crimes is far higher than FBI figures, constituting 3.7 percent of all violent crime.
Our analysis of FBI data revealed that there were 735 hate crimes in November 2016, the most since 2007 and the most for the month of November since 1992.
Hate crimes more than doubled the day after the 2016 election, with a 92 percent spike in average daily hate crimes in the two weeks following the election compared to the daily average from the beginning of the year. Crimes against Latinos increased by the greatest percent, followed by Muslims and Arabs and African-Americans.
In 2016, the federal government first become aware of a massive effort by Russian operatives to affect the electoral process by manipulating social media around the presidential election.
What’s notable about Russian interference was their focus on sowing racial discord. In May, USA Today published an analysis of 3,517 Facebook ads placed by the indicted Russian Internet Research Agency between June 2015 and August 2017. They found that 55 percent of ads “made express references to race.” There were 25 million ad impressions, with placement tripling in the months immediately before election time.
We think that this behavior is noteworthy. Further research is needed, but there appears to be a correlation between the rise in targeted racially divisive social media ads and a near contemporaneous rise in hate crime. This may mark a new era, where the salvos are virtual and the systematic targeting of domestic social cohesion is all too real.
According to BJS’s National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), U.S. residents experienced an average of 250,000 hate crime victimizations each year from 2004 to 2015, and while a majority of those were not reported to the police, nearly half (48%) were motivated by racial bias during the 5-year aggregate period from 2011 to 2015. The presence of 17 active hate groups across the state of New Jersey, is testament to the fact that racism and white supremacy continues to operate in our communities and that now, more than ever, is the time to stand up together in the fight against it.
Stand Against Racism, popularly known as the STAND, was founded by YWCA Trenton and YWCA Princeton in 2007, and is now a signature campaign of YWCA USA. The STAND’s purpose is to build community among those who work for racial justice and to raise awareness about the negative impact of institutional and structural racism in our communities. This campaign is one part of YWCA’s larger national strategy to fulfill our mission of eliminating racism.
The theme for the 2018 STAND is Our Power, Our Mission, Our Future. We believe that everyone has a role to play in civic engagement – everyone can take a STAND. This year we innovated the STAND to make it meaningful for all of our community members throughout the year, through the following range of upcoming civic engagement activities.
2018 STAND Upcoming Events
Thanks to popular demand, we are thrilled to bring to you a summer series of ongoing Stand Against Racism group discussions. All events are free and open to the public. The discussion will be held at YWCA Princeton’s Bramwell House Living Room, 77 Bayard Lane Princeton, NJ 08540.
2018 STAND Summer Series
Racism in Higher Education
When: Thursday, July 5, 2018 at 7:00 – 9:00 PM
Join us for a discussion on “Racism in Institutions of Higher Education” with Tennille Haynes, Director of the Carl A. Fields Center for Equality and Cultural Understanding at Princeton University. She will discuss the issues of race, and racist events that happen in institutions such as Princeton University in her talk.
The Black Immigrant Experience
When: Tuesday, July 10, 2018 at 7:00 – 9:00 PM
Join us for a discussion on “The Black Immigrant Experience” with Toni-Anne Blake as a part of our 2018 Stand Against Racism Summer Series. Toni-Anne Blake is on the Board of Directors at VolunteerConnect. Given the current climate in America, it is so crucial that we talk about the experiences of all the members of our communities, especially the immigrant communities of color.
Racism and Generational Trauma
When: Thursday, July 19, 2018 at 7:00 – 9:00 PM
Join us for a talk with Kimme Carlos on “Racism and Generational Trauma.” Kimme Carlos is the Executive Director and Founder of the Urban Mental Health Alliance. She will help us dive into the issues of racism and generational trauma and how understanding this can help us better understand the actions of those around us.
To RSVP to any event from the STAND Summer Series, email us at email@example.com or call on 609-497-2100 x 383.
2018 STAND Past Events
When: October 2017 – March 2018
As a lead up to the stand, YWCA Princeton along with Corner House organized a series of five discussions on topics related to systemic racism. Each session comprised of attendees from varied walks of life, and was were led by a moderator.
NEXT GEN Stand Against Racism Happy Hour
When: Tuesday, April 17, 2018, 5:00 PM
Where: Salt Creek Grille, 1 Rockingham Row, Princeton, NJ 08540
The NEXT GEN Board took a Stand Against Racism with a Happy Hour, where community members were invited to meet, mingle and network with like-minded individuals who support the YWCA’s mission of empowering women and eliminating racism. They were also asked to join the hundreds of thousands of people across the country in taking the Stand Against Racism pledge, and learn about other Stand Against Racism events planned for April.
Poster Making Competition
When: April 1 – April 23, 2018
This contest was open to Princeton area teens to design a poster inspired by the Stand Against Racism Pledge and / or the 2018 theme, Our Power, Our Mission, Our Future. The first prize was won by John Liang, a junior at Princeton High School for his poster titled ‘Colorblind’. Two runners up winners received $75 each.
Stand Against Racism: Thought Provoking Talks
When: Thursday, April 26, 2018, 6:00 – 9:00 PM
Where: YWCA Princeton
YWCA Princeton along with local partners hosted a social justice workshop featuring four distinguished speakers who spoke about their personal experiences with racism, and how it affects people and the world today. The second half of the Talks lead into small facilitated discussion groups to come up with solutions to the questions posed by the speakers at the end of their talks.
People whose gender identity conflicts with their sex at birth trying to live a transgender life face unique forms of discrimination lesbian and gay people do not confront.
The law in New Jersey does not allow transgender people to change their birth certificates to reflect their gender unless they have sexual reassignment surgery, which happens less often. And their death certificates must record the physical identity to which they are born.
A package of legislation that passed the state Assembly on Thursday seeks to rectify those indignities, according to Assemblywoman Valerie Vaineri Huttle, D-Bergen, one of the prime sponsors of the three-bill package.
“Now more than ever, we need to stand up for those who are being marginalized,” Vainieri Huttle said during the Assembly voting session Thursday.
“Antiquated policies and attitudes towards transgender individuals have led to discrimination, violence, depression and suicide. While tremendous strides have been made in recent years to advance equality for members of the ‘LGB’ community much more still needs to be done to help protect our brothers and sisters in the ‘T’ community,” she said.
Joining her on the floor of the Assembly was Babs Siperstein, a Jersey City native who lives in Edison who was the first elected transgender member of the Democratic National Committee in 2012. They named the law amending birth certificates after Siperstein.
A 2016 report by the Williams Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law estimated 30,100 transgender people call New Jersey home. There are 1.4 million transgender people living in the United States, according to the report.
Christian Fuscarino, executive director for Garden State Equality, a civil rights group, said he was grateful for the legislation. “Gov. Phil Murphy has been staunch ally to our community and we fully expect that he will be signing all three bills this June,” he said.
Here’s what the Assembly approved to boost transgender rights:
* A1718, which requires the state Registrar of Vital Statistics to issue an amended birth certificate to a person born in the state containing the transgender person’s name and sex. A parent or guardian may make the request on a child’s behalf. The bill awaits action in the Senate.
* A1726, which permits the person planning the funeral for a transgender person to request the death certificate be amended to reflect the person’s identity. The transgender person may also leave behind a document “providing proof of clinical treatment for gender transition may be used to memorialize a gender transition.” The bill has now passed both the Assembly and Senate and awaits action by Murphy, a Democrat.
Fuscarino called this “a respect in death act…that will allow transgender people to be remembered as they lived by adding gender identity to the categories listed on a New Jersey death certificate.”
* A1727 establishing a transgender quality task force “to assess legal and societal barriers to equality” and recommend future laws to prevent discrimination. This bill is also on Murphy’s desk.
“With these bills we can strengthen the law to ensure protection of our transgender residents and their livelihoods,” said Assemblywoman Nancy Pinkin, D-Middlesex, also a prime sponsor.
“Discrimination, harassment, decreased educational and employment opportunities, as well as barriers to clinically-appropriate healthcare and social services will continue to harm them unless we take a stand,” Pinkin said.
January 8, 2018
Given NJ’s worst-in-the-country disparities in incarceration, censorship of book on prison system’s racial injustice is especially shameful
Michelle Alexander dedicated her book The New Jim Crow to incarcerated individuals, but in some New Jersey prisons, policies banning the book actively prevent them from reading it.
The ACLU-NJ urged the New Jersey Department of Corrections to immediately end their unconstitutional censorship and restore access to the book, which explores the deep roots of racial discrimination and mass incarceration, in a letter sent January 8. Both New Jersey State Prison and Southern State Correctional Facility ban the book as official policy.
New Jersey’s worst-in-the-country disparity in Black-white incarceration, with Black people imprisoned at over 12 times the rate of white people, makes the ban on a book exploring the injustices and racial inequities of mass incarceration especially shameful. The ACLU-NJ in December released a roadmap for criminal justice reform in our state, A Vision to End Mass Incarceration in New Jersey, which also examined the alarming racial disparities in New Jersey’s criminal justice system.
“For the state burdened with this systemic injustice to prohibit prisoners from reading a book about race and mass incarceration is ironic, misguided, and harmful. It’s also unconstitutional,” said ACLU-NJ Staff Attorney Tess Borden, who drafted the letter to the Department of Corrections. “New Jersey needs to eradicate its worst-in-the-nation racial disparities, not paper them over with a banned book list, hoping that people trapped in an unfair system will remain blind to its injustices.”
The ban on The New Jim Crow amounts to censorship of speech on issues of public concern, which is entitled to special protection under the First Amendment. Prisons and jails can only ban reading materials based on legitimate penological concerns such as security issues, and cannot claim that justification applies here.
“Michelle Alexander’s book chronicles how people of color are not just locked in, but locked out of civic life, and New Jersey has exiled them even further by banning this text specifically for them,” said ACLU-NJ Executive Director Amol Sinha. “The ratios and percentages of mass incarceration play out in terms of human lives. Keeping a book that examines a national tragedy out of the hands of the people mired within it adds insult to injury.”
In Texas, which has deservedly received criticism for its 10,000-title list of banned reading materials, The New Jim Crow is not only allowed, but in fact included on a list of publications the state has affirmatively approved.
Governor-elect Phil Murphy has elevated the need to address New Jersey’s racial disparities as one of his chief goals for criminal justice reform in the state. The ACLU-NJ told the Department of Corrections this is all the more reason to urgently rescind the ban on The New Jim Crow as a priority in the new year and new administration.
The ACLU-NJ asked for corrective action and a response from the Department of Corrections by January 24.