Good News on a Friday Night: DOJ Study Finds Decline in Hate Crimes Over Last Decade
The Department of Justice (DOJ) yesterday released a major new report showing that hate crimes have decreased nationally since 2003 — a trend that mirrors a general drop in all kinds of violent crime over the same period.
The study by the DOJ’s Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) was based on detailed surveys of a statistically representative sample of the population. It found an annual average of 195,000 hate crime victimizations between 2003 and 2009, with the numbers bouncing around from year to year but declining overall, from 239,400 in 2003 to 148,400 in 2009. An earlier BJS study, using the same survey methodology but examining hate crimes during the 2000-2003 period, found an average of 210,000 hate crime victimizations per year.
The decline, Northeastern University criminology professor and hate crimes expert Jack McDevitt told Hatewatch, follows a similar national decline in violent crime overall. The apparent reasons for that decline, which likely apply to hate crimes as well, include the shrinking of the national population of 16- to 24-year-olds, who are by far the most crime-prone population cohort; the rise of effective community policing strategies around the country; and the diminished use of particularly crime-associated drugs like crack cocaine and methamphetamines, he said.