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1995 Hate Crimes Report

The report is available for downloading in Adobe Acrobat format.

Introduction

This 1995 Hate Crimes in Florida Report covers the period from January 1, 1995, through December 31, 1995. The information was collected from local law enforcement agencies by FDLE’s Division of Criminal Justice Information Systems, Special Services Bureau. The data was tabulated by FDLE and provided to the Attorney General’s Office for summary and distribution.

Included in this report are excerpts from FDLE’s Hate Crime Report Manual, as well as a copy of the relevant hate crimes statute and a listing of additional sources of information regarding hate crimes (see Appendices 13). The information is provided as a reference to help explain what constitutes various criminal offenses and when those offenses are deemed to be motivated by hate.

Executive Summary
This 1995 Hate Crimes in Florida report, submitted in accordance with the 1989 Hate Crimes Reporting Act, contains data reported by 60 individual county and local law enforcement agencies throughout Florida. These 60 agencies reported the occurrence of hate crime incidents in 1995 under the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) information system.

The total number of hate crimes reported by these 60 agencies—which represent fewer than one-fifth of the agencies that participate in FDLE’s UCR program—reflects a dramatic decline from the previous year. However, this decline suggests that caution should be applied in developing any conclusions from these numbers. The incidence of reported hate crimes in Florida had remained generally level since reporting began in 1990, marking a small but steady decline in the number of incidents over the period. In 1995, however, the number of reported hate crime incidents declined by 35 percent, from 283 in 1994 to 183 in 1995. Based on this reported number, the average annual number of reported hate crime offenses has fallen 40.2 percent since reporting began six years ago.

This report is based solely on information provided to FDLE by the reporting agencies. Although several factors, including variations in reporting methods, may have contributed to the unprece-dented decline in the reported number of hate crime incidents, no single factor stands out to explain the dramatic reduction. The 1995 report includes data from 13 percent fewer law enforcement agencies than the year before, and 1995 had none of the high-profile hate crime incidents that in the past have elevated the awareness of hate as a primary motivation in criminal incidents.

The 183 reported hate crime offenses represent criminal behavior that has been defined, categorized, and codified in Florida Statutes. Even though the number of hate crimes reported is substantially lower for 1995, the motivation pattern behind the incidents remained consistent with previous years. For example, race remains the most common motivation for hate crimes, accounting for 70 percent of the 1995 incidents, compared to 70 percent in 1994 and 73 percent in 1993. The other motivation types included in the report (religion, ethnicity, and sexual orientation) were also consistent with previous reports.

Another example is seen in the consistency of the types of hate crime offenses being reported. Although a shift from crimes against persons to crimes against property appears to be slowly taking place, the vast majority of reported offenses continues to involve crimes against persons:

Crimes Against Persons Crimes Against Property
1993 --- 238 (76 percent) 1993 --- 74 (24 percent)
1994 --- 206 (73 percent) 1994 --- 77 (27 percent)
1995 --- 119 (65 percent) 1995 --- 65 (35 percent)

Again, caution should be applied in interpreting the hate crime data. While the numbers appear to be encouraging, hate-motivated crimes remain a significant problem that will continue to be monitored pursuant to directive of the Legislature.