Reported hate crime in New York State rose 14% in 2009 to 683 from 599 in 2008, according to a new report released by the state's Division of Criminal Justice Services. In contrast national figures released last month by the Federal Bureau of Investigation showed a decline of 15% to 6,604 incidents, down from 7783 in 2008 when a 2.1% increase was reported. The 2009 national numbers were the lowest reported since 1994, while New York's hate crime numbers were the state's highest in at least five years. Overall crime in New York State has dropped approximately 25% over the last decade. Hate crimes account for less than one percent of all crime reported, but underreporting rates are estimated to be quite high. In 2000, New York became one of the last large states to enact a comprehensive hate crime law, after years of opposition because of its coverage of gays and lesbians.
New York City
New York City's 275 reported hate crimes accounted for 40% of the state's hate crimes in 2009, with Brooklyn (Kings County) alone reporting 92 hate crimes. Brooklyn/Kings has 2.5 million residents and is the 7th largest county in the nation, while New York's 8.3 million residents make it the nation's most populous city. New York City has the second oldest hate crime police unit in the nation, which was founded on December 19, 1980. The following year the city reported 198 hate crimes and by 1989 the unit counted 541. In 1980 New York City was 61% white, while today only about 45% of its residents are. Many less diverse outlying areas outside of New York City reported significant increases in hate crime.
Jews, African-Americans Attacked Most
New York State data indicated that Jews were by far the most frequent target for hate crime in 2009 accounting for 37% of the state's hate crimes, with African Americans coming in second with 21%, followed by anti-gay male crimes at 12% and anti-Hispanic crimes at 6%. Of the 294 religiously motivated hate crimes in the state 251, or 85% were directed against Jews. The next most frequent target of religiously motivated hate crime, Muslims reported 11 hate crimes, or 1.6% of the state's total, although language, fear and cultural barriers are believed to hamper reporting among that population . It is estimated that there are over 1.5 million Jews in the state, accounting for 8.4% of New York's total population of 19.4 million. Earlier this year the Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish civil rights group, found that there were 209 cases of vandalism, harassment and assault in the state, ranking it second to only California for such cases. New York is the home to more Jews than any other state in the nation with almost one in four Jewish Americans residing there. African -Americans account for 15.6% of the state's population, while Hispanics account for 16.3%.
Characteristics of NY Crimes & Offenders
Crimes against persons accounted for 52.6% of the state's hate crime, although about half of those were instances of intimidation. Only about 10% of overall crimes are directed against persons. National hate crime figures showed that 61.5% of reported hate crime were directed against persons in 2009.
The most frequent hate crimes were:
Identified offenders were predominantly young and male. Males constituted 86% of known offenders and 55% of offenders were under 25 years of age. In contrast only about 1/3 of New Yorkers are estimated to be under 25 years old. Most attacks in the state involved lone offenders, but one in four involved groups of attackers.