Good news: Hate crimes went down in 2009. Better news: It’s the lowest number of hate crimes since the FBI began reporting them. Ironic news: In the same year that we now know was the lowest year on record for hate crimes, Congress passed the speech-chilling, religious-freedom-killing Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Act of 2009.
Since the Matthew Shepard Act was a high-priority issue for the gay activist lobby, it’s interesting to note that gays and lesbians were also beneficiaries of the overall drop in hate crimes. The following is a comparison between 2008 and 2009 for hate crime “incidents” (FBI’s term) reported to the FBI in compliance with the 1990 Hate Crimes Statistics Act:
1.) Total number of reporting agencies participating in the annual report – way up – from 13,690 to 14,422
Significance: This latter figure covers a population of 278,948,317, almost the entire country. You might expect that with the highest number ever of law enforcement agencies participating in the FBI’s reporting process, there would be higher raw numbers of incidents in all categories. However, the opposite proved to be true for 2009.
2.) Total hate crime incidents – down – from 7783 to 6604
Actually this year’s number is the lowest annual number the FBI has on its website, with reports going back to 1995. Also, notice how small these raw numbers are in the first place. Some perspective is necessary. 6604 hate crimes (of which only about 2600 were categorized as violent) compared to roughly 1.3 million violent crimes reported to the FBI in 2009. No violent crime should be condoned, including hate crimes, but when you hear someone talk about an “epidemic” of hate crimes in the U.S., please smile and tell them you know better.
3.) Total number of sexual orientation hate crime incidents (including violent and non-violent) – down – from 1297 to 1223
4.) Number of murders related to sexual orientation – down from 5 to 1
5.) Number of rapes related to sexual orientation – down from 6 to 4
6.) Number of aggravated assaults related to sexual orientation – down from 232 to 227
7.) Number of simple assaults related to sexual orientation – down from 501 to 493
The reduction in sexual orientation hate crimes is even stranger when you consider that the increasing demand by gay activists for more prosecutions has resulted in such bizarre examples as mortgage fraud and gay-on-gay violence being treated as “hate” crimes.
As I’ve said before, the Matthew Shepard Act was a feel-good political act and a redundant criminal law, and together with its chilling effects on our First Amendment freedoms, is one of the poorest examples of federal legislation I have seen.