By Stephen Magagnini
Hate crimes across the United States are at their lowest level since 1994, and down 15 percent between 2009 and 2008, according to an analysis of FBI statistics from all 50 states that was released today.
California saw a 26 percent drop from 2008 to 2009.
The FBI's 2009 Hate Crime Statistics Act report indicates crimes directed against individuals because of race, religion, sexual orientation and national origin all declined. In 2009, the FBI reported 6,604 hate crimes, a decrease from 7,783 in 2008.
Of the 4,422 law enforcement agencies in the United States that reported their 2009 cases to the FBI, only 2,034 - 14.1 percent - reported even a single hate crime.
Sacramento reported nine hate crimes in 2009, compared with 13 in 2008, 20 in 2007, 37 in 2006, and 50 in 2005, according to an Anti-Defamation League analysis of FBI statistics.
"In California, the number went down from 1,381 crimes reported in 2008 to 1,015 in 2009," said Michael Lieberman, Washington Counsel for the ADL.
Religion-based crimes decreased from 1,519 in 2008 to 1,303 in 2009. The number of reported anti-Jewish crimes also decreased, from 1,013 in 2008 to 931 in 2009. The majority - 71 percent of reported religion-based crimes - were directed against Jews and Jewish institutions. Reported crimes against Muslims increased slightly from 105 to 107.
Hate crimes directed at gay men and lesbians decreased for the first time in four years - from 1,297 in 2008 to 1,223 in 2009.
Hate crimes against Hispanics continued to decline - from 561 in 2008 to 483 in 2009.
The Anti-Defamation League welcomed the drop in the number of hate crimes documented by the FBI, but expressed disappointment that more than 60 U.S. cities with 100,000-plus populations did not participate in the annual study.
A victim of hate violence is much less likely to report the crime to a police department if he or she does not believe the crime will be treated with the seriousness it merits, the ADL said.
FBI hate crime stats
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