One in 10 hate crimes target American Indians
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Although hate crimes constituted but a small fraction of the offenses nationwide, about one in 10 racially-motivated bias incidents targeted American Indians, the Department of Justice reported on Sunday.

Based on a sample of data taken from several states, there were 48 reported incidents of racially-motivated crimes against American Indians from 1997 to 1999, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. While the amount was the smallest of all race-based incidents, the cases made up 2.6 percent of all hate crimes, indicating a disproportionate number of attacks targeted American Indians.

But there are indications the statistics do not paint an accurate picture of bias crimes affecting Indian Country. Not all law enforcement units submit data to the FBI for classification under the Hate Crime Statistics Act of 1990.

For the report in question, only data from 17 states was considered. And of the states, only a handful (Colorado, Idaho, Michigan, Nebraska, North Dakota, Utah) have a significant Indian population.

Additionally, Alaska -- where bias crimes against Native women and men have drawn national attention -- was not taken into account at all.

The data the report does present shows that hate crimes were a small proportion of offenses in the 17 states. Only about 3,000 of the 5.4 million crimes submitted to the FBI from 1997 to 1999 were considered bias motivated.

Of the crimes, the majority (61.2 percent) were racially-based. Anti-black crimes led the group at 35.6 percent of the total hate crimes, followed by anti-white (18.9 percent), anti-multiracial (3.1 percent) and anti-Asian (2.0 percent).

The next common category was religion-based at 14.4 percent of the total crimes. In this group, anti-Jewish led with 5.9 percent of all hate crimes.

Most hate crimes, according to the study, are committed by young Americans. Most are also violent, which is defined as homicide, rape, robbery, assault, kidnapping and sexual assault.

Offenders ages 13 to 24 committed 58 percent of all bias crimes. Additionally, 31 percent of violent hate crime offenders, and 46 percent of property offenders were under 18 years old.

Most hate crimes are committed by white males. White males were involved in 62 percent of all offenses, the report showed.

Victims of bias incidents were spread among age and gender groups, although 40 percent were white males and 25 percent were white females.

American Indians and Alaska Natives make up less than one percent of the total population.

Get the Report Hate Crimes Reported in NIBRS, 1997-99:
PDF (108K) | TEXT (32K)