Civil Rights
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2004 Hate Crimes Report

The report is available for downloading in Adobe Acrobat format.

Executive Summary

This 2004 Hate Crimes in Florida Report, submitted in accordance with the 1989 Hate Crimes Reporting Act, section 877.19, Florida Statutes, contains data reported by individual local law enforcement agencies throughout Florida. These agencies reported the occurrence of hate crime incidents in 2004 under the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) information system. Currently, 427 agencies participate in the UCR system, and this report is based solely on the information provided to FDLE by the reporting agencies.

Of the 427 participating agencies, 95 reported hate crimes in 2004, a 10 percent increase over the 86 agencies that reported hate crimes the previous year. This year’s total represents 22 percent of the participating UCR agencies.

One year ago, the annual Hate Crimes in Florida Report showed a total of 275 reported hate crimes throughout the state. In 2004, the overall number of reported hate crimes increased by 21.5 percent to 334. This represents the third-highest annual total since reporting began in 1990 and is just one shy of the number reported for 2001, a period that included the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 terror attacks. The data does not suggest a specific reason for this notable increase after two years of decline, but several factors may have contributed to the increase in the reported number of hate crime incidents, including variations in reporting methods and improvements in training that resulted in better investigating and reporting by law enforcement.

Hate crimes are tracked not only by their sheer numbers, but also by the nature of the ill will behind the offenses. During 2004, race-motivated hate crimes represented 56.9 percent of all reported hate crimes, followed by sexual orientation, 15.6 percent; ethnicity, 15.3 percent; and religion, 12.3 percent. This reflects an increase in the share of hate crimes attributed to race (up from 49.1 percent). When considered together, the victim’s race or ethnicity/national origin accounted for 72.2 percent of all reported hate crimes in 2004, up from a combined 67.6 percent one year earlier. Like the year before, no hate crimes were reported in 2004 under the categories of advanced age or mental/physical disability.

Hate crimes are classified by two broad categories of offenses: crimes against persons and crimes against property. The year 2004 saw movement in the nature of hate crimes toward those committed against individuals rather than property. In 2004, crimes against persons accounted for 76 percent of reported hate crimes – an increase from 68 percent the previous year and the highest proportion since 1993 – while crimes against property accounted for the remaining 24 percent, down from 32 percent the year before. Several types of offenses against individuals saw significant increases, including aggravated assault up 40 percent, simple assault up 23 percent and intimidation up 45 percent.

Caution should be applied in interpreting this data and in drawing conclusions solely from information contained in this report, as variations may exist among law enforcement agencies in how they gather and report hate crime data. It is important to note that this report does not include unreported crimes or crimes that may be hate related but are not classified as such by the local reporting agencies.

Since 1994, this office has conducted hate crimes training seminars for state and local law enforcement agencies throughout Florida. Through the end of 2004, more than 3,500 law enforcement personnel from more than 272 jurisdictions had received this training.