Several recent decisions by the Supreme Court have helped restore the foundational freedoms that made the United States, though far from perfect, the greatest nation on earth. Yet we must realize that there is no real freedom apart from God and the acceptance of personal responsibility. There can be no effective government without responsible citizens living under moral order. If we do not live under control with the freedom Jesus offered to all captives, we can never hope for our society to support and maintain the principles that enable freedom.
With an understanding of the importance of personal freedom, we may rightly ask the question, “What about national freedom?” It is my firm opinion we are in danger of losing it, along with the opportunity it offers. It is my prayer that all believers will learn that we must live to protect what others died to provide.
We are in the process of forfeiting the freedom our founders established – a freedom built on moral absolutes and a strong, but limited, government. Enemies of faith and true freedom don’t even want to acknowledge the supernatural power that influenced America’s birth or the importance of God, faith, family, and the principles necessary for freedom. They stand hell-bent in opposition to undeniable, absolute, transforming truth.
It’s time for people who understand the value of faith and freedom and its foundation to stand together like a mighty army – an undeniable spiritual force. We must reclaim the land of promise birthed through faith, prayer, and personal sacrifice to bless the American people and the nations of the world. Our freedom can only be preserved with the same determination, diligence, and supernatural unity Jesus prayed for and freedom’s champions understand.
The framers of the Constitution knew that the true liberty they offered demanded responsible citizens. Benjamin Franklin was asked if the meeting in Philadelphia had created a monarchy or a republic. Franklin answered, “A republic – if you can keep it.” Franklin, along with the other founders, knew that in order for liberty to be maintained, it would have to be supported by principled statesmen who were actively engaged in the task of governing themselves, encouraging all citizens to hold fast to truths espoused in the Declaration of Independence.
John Adams, our second president, said, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
We are on the verge of losing freedom’s blessings as morality is under assault. Sadly, the church has not fully understood the importance of living under the control of God with the powerful spirit of God providing the strength for us to not only enjoy the privileges and possibilities of freedom, but also to protect them.
Jesus commissioned His followers to share the truth that sets people free and keeps them free. He said, “When the Son sets you free, you are free indeed.”
Ronald Reagan observed, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We don’t pass it on to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected and handed on to them to do the same or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States when men were free.”
I do not want to be found among those who will be asked what we were doing when freedom died. By the grace of God, with His help and the help of those who share common concerns and with Christians of conviction, I will not be indifferent and allow freedom to die on my watch. I will continue to pray, preach, and openly call for a return to God-given principles.
America’s founders believed they were on a journey similar to that of Israel’s exodus from Egypt to God’s Promised Land. Moses was their hero. His farewell address delivered on Mount Nebo references the choices God offers those desiring true freedom. Martin Luther King, Jr. invoked these words the night before he was assassinated in 1968, and Ronald Reagan repeated them while standing at the base of the Statue of Liberty celebrating our nation’s birthday in 1986:
“See, I have set before you this day life and good, death and adversity. For I command you this day to love the Lord your God to walk in His ways and to keep his commandments. But if you turn away, you will certainly perish. You shall not long endure on the soil that you are crossing the Jordan to enter. I have put before you life and death, blessing and curse, choose life that you and your offspring shall live.” (Deuteronomy 30:15-19)
The life being offered was a life of freedom, fullness and fruitfulness. God has granted us both the privilege and responsibility of being overseers, good stewards of all that He had entrusted to our care. You can be the guardians, the gate keepers, the restorers of the foundation and the wall builders maintaining our precious liberty. Let not your hearts be troubled. Keep the faith. Fight the fight as a good soldier of the Lord Jesus Christ with the whole armor of God and the sword of the Spirit, don’t bend and don’t bow before the godless influences of this world and you will not be crushed and enslaved by the powers in this present world!
When God rules in individual lives, sound principles will prevail in our land. Leaders will no longer be chosen because of personality, party affiliation, or skillful communication. They will be chosen because of their commitment to God-given principles necessary for the survival of true freedom.
I am praying to God and appealing to caring people to help restore America and freedom. It will not be easy, but together, and with God’s help, it can be done. This is the greatest hour for people of faith to become a guiding light.
The Constitution of Pennsylvania: The Publice Defenders Office of Lackawanna County is allowing The District Attorney’s Office to Violate the Contstitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. This is Human Trafficking at it’s Highest.
§ 14. Prisoners to be bailable; habeas corpus. All prisoners shall be bailable by sufficient sureties, unless for capital offenses or for offenses for which the maximum sentence is life imprisonment or unless no condition or combination of conditions other than imprisonment will reasonably assure the safety of any person and the community when the proof is evident or presumption great; and the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in case of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it. (Nov. 3, 1998, P.L.1327, J.R.1)
I know for a fact Lackawanna County ignore every law that has been signed into law. I was a victim of Domestic Violence for most of my life. By God grave I am still alive. In 2005, I was beaten bloody the man went to jail. Lackawanna Counry court dropped all charges. Eight years later the same man SHOT me. The man thrend to kill my kids and my family. I had to draw him away for them. There is so much corrution in Lackawanna County no body does anything. THEY, elderly because they are scared of the drug dealers. When worked a Pub Charlies, I had seen police, probation officers, and judges in there. One probation officer got hig with me while I was on probation. He would go get the drugs. I can tell you true about the corruption. I left in 2007 because of the abuse I suffered in Lackawanna County. I was gang-raped, I went to the Scranton Police Department to report what happened and they blamed me for what happned to me. This county need to be charged with human trafficking chatges
A Proclamation on National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, 2022
Forty years ago, the President’s Task Force on Victims of Crime was established to help those who had experienced crime and their families — an important step toward the protection of and support for victims’ rights. Over the years, crime victims’ rights have evolved. Dedicated professionals have worked to develop support and services for survivors that are more holistic, trauma-informed, and effective at overcoming systemic barriers that certain communities face in prosecuting offenders and obtaining justice. However, more work remains to be done to advance these goals. During National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, our Nation renews our commitment to providing survivors of crime the support they need to heal. We honor the dedicated victim service providers who support crime victims, and we continue to advance this important cause for all people.
Delivering true justice requires that we provide all victims with the support they need. Persistent barriers still prevent many survivors from receiving the services they need and the justice they deserve. Many crimes — including violent crimes, such as rape and sexual assault — often go unreported to law enforcement because, among other concerns, victims fear placing themselves in further danger and negative interactions with the criminal justice system. My Administration is also working to tackle the epidemic of gun violence, which is a public health and public safety crisis. In the absence of necessary Congressional action, my Administration is taking action to get illegal guns — and those who would use them to commit crimes — off of our streets.
Victims of crime not only face physical and emotional costs, they often suffer a serious economic toll as well, and this is another area in which my Administration is making progress. The Crime Victims Fund, established through the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA), helps provide critical resources for victim services and victim compensation programs throughout the country. That is why, last July, I signed the VOCA Fix to Sustain the Crime Victim Fund Act into law to strengthen VOCA and increase the revenues to support survivors of crime and victim services organizations. My Administration is supporting innovative programs like sexual assault telehealth services and hospital-based victim assistance, enabling providers to quickly reach more survivors and reduce repeated victimization. I am also proud to have recently signed into law the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which funds programs that provide services to survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. This reauthorization of VAWA also expands the rights of victims of technology-facilitated gender-based violence and also includes historic Tribal provisions to protect Native communities and help them pursue justice.
Strengthening public safety also means addressing the trauma and inequality of victimization experienced by communities of color, Native American communities, the LGBTQI+ community, the Asian American community, and other historically marginalized groups. People of color suffer higher rates of victimization, and violence is disproportionally concentrated in neighborhoods that have been harmed persistently by racial discrimination, segregation, redlining, and disinvestment. Breaking the cycle of violence enhances public safety, public health, and equity. We also know that members of the LGBTQI+ community are more likely to be victims of violent crime.
My Administration is committed to using all tools at our disposal to ensure every survivor of crime has equal access to the resources and services they need to recover from their ordeals and regain a feeling of safety. To address a surge in hate crimes and bias-motivated attacks — and to provide law enforcement with the resources to identify and investigate hate crimes, I signed the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act into law. As part of this law, we have funded a new Center for Culturally Responsive Victim Services to help local programs better serve historically marginalized communities.
In addition to supporting crime victims, we must also hold offenders accountable. That is why the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security are committed to investigating and enforcing our criminal and civil laws and ensuring that Federal, State, local, territorial, and Tribal law enforcement officers and prosecutors receive the training and resources they need to deliver justice to victims.
It takes enormous courage and extraordinary strength to emerge from life’s most painful moments. As a Nation, let us all work together to stop crimes before they happen and to give victims the support they need to restore a sense of trust and safety and to move toward healing and justice.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim April 24 through April 30, 2022, National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. I call upon all Americans to observe this week by participating in events that raise awareness of victims’ rights and services and by volunteering to serve victims in their time of need.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-second day of April, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty-two, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-sixth.
JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR.
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, a crime becomes a hate crime when there’s an added element of bias. For example, a murder is labeled a hate crime if the victim was killed because he was gay. Or black. Or Muslim.
“Hate crimes are different from other crimes. They strike at the heart of one’s identity,” FBI Director James Comey said in a speech at the Anti-Defamation League National Leadership Summit in 2014. “They strike at our sense of self, our sense of belonging. The end result is loss: loss of trust, loss of dignity and, in the worst case, loss of life.”
They’re motivated by bias, said David Stacy, government affairs director of the Human Rights Campaign.
“In a hate crime, the victim is targeted because of his characteristics,” Stacy said. “These are bias-motivated crimes, and often they are much more violent than traditional crimes.”
Counting the hate
The Civil Rights Act of 1968, the first law that dealt with hate crimes, protected people against attacks related to their race, religion or national origin. Violence triggered by gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability was not charged as a hate crime until 2009. The FBI says that a hate crime can target either a person or property and can be motivated in whole or in part by biases, meaning offenders can have other motives besides hate.
The Hate Crime Statistics Act of 1990, signed by President George H.W. Bush, required the US attorney general to report hate crimes annually. The law was inspired by a violent attack on three black men in Howard Beach, a mostly white neighborhood in Queens, New York, in 1986.
Walking out of a pizzeria, the men were confronted by a gang of white teens, who called out racial slurs and chased the men. One man, Michael Griffith, 23, was killed by oncoming traffic. Another was severely beaten but survived. The third managed to run away.
To track attacks such as these, the FBI now collects voluntary reports of hate crimes from local jurisdictions across the country.
Since the data collection began, the FBI has published hate crime statistics from 1996 to, most recently, 2015. In 2015, there were 5,818 hate crime incidents reported, the majority of which were biased toward race and ethnicity. There were about 340 more hate crimes in 2015 than in 2014.
“Hate crimes occur during a period of heightened rhetoric, like a presidential election,” said the Human Rights Campaign’s Stacy. Whenever a vulnerable group is given national attention – whether the attention is positive or negative – people who are biased against the group may lash out, he explained.
The FBI reports that the numbers of hate crimes have decreased over several years, with the exception of 2015. Regardless of the year, however, the hate crime count is underreported to the FBI, explained Stacy. Some state, city and local police agencies simply don’t collect or disclose the data.
“Crimes happen, and the cop on the beat checks the motivation of the crime to state in the police report,” Stacy said. “Often, they say there’s not enough evidence to say it’s a hate crime. There’s an underreporting of hate crimes in general.”
Tracking hate crimes against the LGBT community
Stacy joined the Human Rights Campaign in 1999, an important time for the LGBT community. The previous year, Matthew Shepard, 21, a gay student at the University of Wyoming, was beaten, tortured, chained to a fence and left for dead by two men he had met at a bar.
The case caused a stir, but it wasn’t clear whether Shepard’s attack was an anti-gay hate crime. The two offenders confessed to pretending to be gay in order to lure Shepard into their truck, but they claimed their motive for the murder was robbery. However, LGBT activist groups nationwide, including Shepard’s mother, Judy, argued that the student was killed because he was gay.
Stacy took the activists’ message to Congress, where they lobbied for laws that would protect victims attacked because of their sexual identities. They succeeded 11 years later, in 2009, when President Obama signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which expanded hate crime laws to include sexual orientation, disability and gender bias.
Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pennsylvania, recently proposed a law that would prevent hate crime offenders from buying guns. This bill comes in response to the mass shooting at Pulse nightclub, a gay club in Orlando where nearly 50 people were killed in June.
“If you have proven you will commit criminal acts based on hate, you absolutely should not have access to a gun. It’s common sense,” Casey said at a news conference after the shooting.
“No one in America should ever be afraid to walk down the street holding the hands of the person they love,” remarked President Obama when he signed the 2009 Hate Crimes Prevention Act.
The act “was a huge victory for us” Stacy said. Still, he noted, much work needs to be done to raise awareness of anti-LGBT hate crimes.
As of now, the Hate Crimes Prevention Act protects LGBT victims from violent crimes only where the federal government has jurisdiction. Since most crimes are tried at the state level, many victims aren’t protected based on their gay or transgender identities.
The Movement Advancement Project, a Denver-based think tank that advocates for LGBT equality, maintains an online map of which states have hate crime laws that protect LGBT people. According to the map, 17 states have hate crime laws that cover sexual orientation and gender identity. Thirteen states have laws that cover only sexual orientation.
The project reports that 15 states have laws that cover neither sexual orientation nor gender identity, while five states (South Carolina, Georgia, Indiana, Arkansas and Wyoming) have no hate crime laws in place. Without protections in these states, it’s hard to track how many hate crimes against LGBT people occur.
In 2013, the FBI began recording hate crimes motivated by gender and gender identification biases – for example, attacks on transgender people. Crimes motivated by gender identification rose from 31 in 2013 to 114 in 2015, according to FBI reports.
Stacy says the lack of support for LGBT victims of hate crimes is troubling. In an environment that doesn’t recognize hate crimes motivated by homophobia, he explained, victims don’t feel safe reporting attacks. And because these crimes aren’t always recorded by the jurisdictions, FBI data do not reflect these incidents, Stacy said.
The 2015 data reveal that anti-LGBT hate crimes rose by about 5% but remained below 2013 levels. Still, the Human Rights Campaign suggests that this increase is an understatement: “The number (of LGBT hate crimes) likely only represents a fraction of such cases given that thousands of law enforcement agencies throughout the country did not submit any data,” it said in a statement.
Tracking hate crimes against Muslims
Three years after Shepard’s death, in the wake of the attacks of September 11, 2001, a wave of anti-Islamic hate crimes surfaced. In 2001, 481 incidents of hate crime were recorded. Incidents, as defined by the FBI, may include multiple offenses. Comparatively, only 28 incidents against Muslims were recorded in 2000, according to the FBI.
The increased attacks against people who appeared Muslim showed most drastically in the religion-biased crime count. Before 2001, crimes motivated by ethnicity made up a little more than 10%, on average, of the total number of single-biased hate crimes. In 2001, ethnicity-biased crimes counted for more than 20% of the total, according to the FBI.
After 2001, the numbers of hate crimes against Muslims dropped, but they remained higher than before. Between 2010 and 2013, attacks against Muslims made up about 13% of religion-biased offenses. Comparatively, anti-Jewish crimes counted for about 60% of those offenses.
But in 2014, anti-Muslim offenses increased again, counting for more than 16% of the religion-biased offenses. Interestingly, this was the only religion within that category of hate crimes that increased in the 2014 FBI report, and the total hate crime count in 2014 was the lowest it had ever been.
In 2015, the hate crime total increased by 356 single bias incidents, and anti-Muslim incidents surged again. Over 20% of attacks on religious groups in 2015 targeted Muslims, according to FBI data. The FBI reported 257 hate crimes against Muslims in 2015, an increase from 154 crimes in 2014.
Why the surge? The Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based organization that monitors hate crimes across the country, points to the 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris and the “exploitation of these attacks by right-wing media and political figures” in the US as encouraging hatred toward Muslims, according to recent blog post.
The law center also noted that the anti-Muslim hate crime count in 2015 may be even higher because a handful of anti-Sikh hate crimes (a new category for 2015) were also reported last year. Because Sikhs are sometimes mistaken for Muslims, an offender may have intended to commit a hate crime against a Muslim but instead attacked a Sikh. In this case, the crime would have been recorded as an anti-Sikh crime.
The center suggests that President-elect Donald Trump may have influenced the uptick in hate crimes.
“What was likely even more important (than terrorist events in Europe) was Trump’s attacks on Muslims, including his infamous call for a ban on Muslims entering the US,” it said in a blog post.
The law center continued, “In addition, many of Trump’s aides and surrogates embraced similar rhetoric. The Trump campaign also maligned blacks, Latinos and other minorities.”
Tracking hate crimes against blacks and minorities
Historically, about half of all hate crimes have been racially charged, according to the FBI reports. Of these race-biased crimes, the majority have targeted black people. In 2015, there were 1,745 anti-black hate crimes reported, far outnumbering the 613 anti-white incidents and 299 anti-Hispanic or Latino incidents.
The recent report reveals a nearly 8% increase in hate crimes against blacks from 2014 data, which cited 1,621 anti-black hate crimes. Prior to 2015, the race-biased crime numbers had steadily decreased since 2008. In 2008, the same year Obama was elected, there were 2,876 anti-black hate crimes reported, nearly 37% of the total number of hate crimes that year.
“There was an uptick in hate crimes (against black people) after Obama’s election,” confirmed Heidi Beirich, director of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Project. That year, the law center saw churches with predominantly black congregations burned to the ground, among other incidents, she said. With a black president in the White House, “people were angry,” she explained.
Though the number of race-biased hate crimes has decreased over many years, tensions between races were still strained in the years following Obama’s election. Incidents of police officers killing young black men, including Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and Eric Garner, launched the Black Lives Matter movement in 2013, which advocates for racial justice.
But the hate didn’t stop: In 2015, nine people were killed in a traditionally black church in Charleston, South Carolina, by a white supremacy supporter. The shooter, Dylann Roof, was charged with 33 federal counts, including nine counts of violating the Hate Crimes Prevention Act resulting in death and three counts of violating the act in an attempt to kill. Roof confessed to the killings and was convicted December 15 on all 33 charges.
South Carolina does not have hate crime laws, so Roof couldn’t be charged locally for hate crimes. The city of Charleston reported four hate crimes in 2015, according to the FBI. The report doesn’t specify whether Roof’s crime was among those four hate crimes.
At the Southern Poverty Law Center, Beirich tracks hate incidents from current media headlines and individual reports from victims. As the center’s data are updated daily with new hate crime incidents, she can observe how the crime counts ebb and flow depending on the political climate.
Beirich compares the spike in race-biased hate crimes after Obama was elected to the surge of crimes after the tumultuous 2016 election.
“Now, (the hate crime offenders) are happy,” Beirich said. When Trump won the US election, she explained, the reaction among a segment of his supporters was similar to reactions to Brexit in Europe: a heightened sense of nationalism and increased hate for minorities, particularly blacks and immigrants. In the week after Trump’s win, the law center counted more than 700 hate incidents, the majority of which targeted black people and immigrants, it said.
In addition to tracking hate crimes, the law center monitors active hate groups in the country, including white supremacy groups, black separatists and general hate groups. Actions by these groups – or in reference to them, such as a spray-painted swastika on a building – contribute largely to the hate crime count.
According to the law center, there were 892 active hate groups in 2015, an increase from 784 in 2014. Of the hate groups, about 20% are KKK branches, 20% black separatists, 20% general hate, 10% neo-Nazis, 10% racist skinheads and 10% white nationalists. Neo-Confederate and Christian identity groups made up the rest of the total. General hate groups include groups whose biases aren’t specified and groups with multiple biases, such as both anti-black and anti-gay.
“Reacting to demographic changes in the US, immigration, the legalization of same-sex marriage, the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, and Islamist atrocities, these people fostered a sense of polarization and anger in this country,” the law center commented in a blog post.
Invisible hate crimes
Beirich and Stacy emphasized that FBI hate crime statistics are grossly underreported, mainly because the hate crime reports are handed in voluntarily. Several large cities, including Honolulu and Portland, Oregon, didn’t report in 2015, according to Stacy.
“There was a big drop in jurisdictions reporting,” Stacy said. In past years, participating agencies have increased: About 12,000 submitted data in 2001, about 12,400 in 2005, about 15,000 in 2010 and about 15,500 in 2014. But in 2015, fewer than 15,000 agencies reported, according to the FBI. Of those that didn’t report, 21 were cities with populations of more than 100,000 people, the Human Rights Campaign notes in a statement on their website.
However, even the data cities do report may not be reliable. Every year since the FBI began tracking hate crimes in 1996, more than 80% of jurisdictions have reported “zero” hate crimes. In 2015, only 11.6% of participating law enforcement agencies reported hate crimes. The vast majority of participating jurisdictions – 88.4% – said not a single hate crime occurred in their cities.
“It’s bogus,” said Beirich. Not acknowledging hate crimes skews the data, she explained, because some states appear to have much more hate than others. “States that are good at reporting, like California and New Jersey, look like they have a lot of hate crimes, while most states in the deep South don’t report hate crimes.”
Areas with histories of racial tensions like Mobile, Alabama, and the entire state of Mississippi reported no hate crimes for 2015, according to the FBI.
In the places where there are no local hate crime laws, hate crimes must be charged at the federal level, as was the case for Roof in South Carolina. However, charging someone with a hate crime in a jurisdiction without local hate crime laws can be much more difficult than in places with the laws, Stacy says.
Stacy adds that jurisdictions don’t admit hate crimes, which may be why the FBI numbers seem to be severely understated. Part of the problem, Stacy suggests, is that police officers don’t acknowledge that crimes are hate crimes when they happen, either because there are no local hate crime laws or the officers are biased themselves.
“Communities are much more likely to report bias-motivated crimes when they don’t trust the police,” Stacy said. In these areas, he continued, “there’s much more willingness to report hate crimes.”
Conversely, in communities that strongly support law enforcement – such as traditional, right-wing Southern towns – the public is not as likely to question an officer’s judgment, according to Stacy. This compounds the problem: First, hate crimes are less likely to be acknowledged in these districts, which creates an unsafe space for vulnerable individuals; secondly, since the crimes aren’t reported even if they occur, areas with high rates of hate crimes may be overlooked by the FBI.
Even for the states that reported hate crimes in 2015, the numbers were still exceedingly low, according to Stacy and Beirich. Wyoming filed just two incidents, while Arkansas reported five. Comparatively, Maine, whose population is half the size of Arkansas, reported 38 hate crimes, according to the FBI.
Bringing hate crimes to light
By tracking hate crime in real time, the Southern Poverty Law Center wants to expose hate incidents that may not be accounted for by the FBI.
Beirich suggests hate crime data are better represented elsewhere. “Instead of looking at the FBI data, we should look at the crime survey data” administered by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, she said. In 2012, the bureau conducted a hate crime survey that measured hate crimes perceived by victims.
The survey was administered to people age 12 or older and asked every six months, for a three-year period, whether they had experienced victimization, which could be nonfatal personal crimes (rape or sexual assault, robbery, aggravated and simple assault, and personal larceny) or household property crimes (burglary, motor vehicle theft and other theft). They were also asked what they perceived as the bias for the attack (anti-race, anti-LGBT, etc.) and whether they reported the crime to the police. Responses from the sample of people who took the survey were then weighted to represent the total population of the US.
After calculating the survey responses, the bureau estimated that 293,800 hate crimes occurred in 2012: 50 times more crimes than the FBI reported in 2012. The survey estimated that 60% of the hate crimes submitted weren’t reported to the police.
“It’s our responsibility to get out this information,” Beirich said. “We need a much more aggressive program of reporting.”
The Bureau of Justice Statistics numbers differ from the FBI statistics because they are victim-reported, rather than reported by the police. They are also estimated from a sample population, which means there is a margin of error between the estimated number of hate crimes and the real number, according to the survey. Additionally, since it was victim-reported, bias-motivated murders were not included in the Bureau of Justice Statistics report.
The Southern Poverty Law Center accumulates both victim-reported hate crimes and hate crimes reported by the media, but these data are updated daily, and the center does not keep an annual report of total hate crimes. Of the three sets of hate crime data, the FBI statistics are the only statistics that track physical hate crimes across the country year after year.
In his 2014 speech, FBI director Comey addressed the flaws with the hate crime statistics. “We need to do a better job of tracking and reporting hate crime to fully understand what is happening in our communities and how to stop it,” Comey said.
“There are jurisdictions that fail to report hate crime statistics. Other jurisdictions claim there were no hate crimes in their communit, a fact that would be welcome if true,” Comey continued. “We must continue to impress upon our state and local counterparts in every jurisdiction the need to track and report hate crime. It is not something we can ignore or sweep under the rug.”
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The Human Rights Campaign proposes requiring districts to report hate crimes. “This would provide a more complete picture of hate based violence in the United States and allow for targeted efforts to address areas with high levels of crime,” the campaign said in its statement.
Stacy makes an analogy between hate crime and domestic crime, using the example of a woman who is beaten by her husband. If there’s a domestic abuse center in town, she is much more likely to report the attack. Without a support system available, however, the woman will probably suffer in silence.
“The same thing is true for hate crimes,” Stacy said. “If the services are there, victims are more likely to report.”
Legislators in the Pennsylvania House and Senate have moved to introduce a comprehensive legislative package to address hate crimes.
Across the nation and in Pennsylvania, hate crimes are on the rise. Pennsylvania’s laws have not kept pace with modern society and need to be updated.
The legislation, sponsored by state Reps. Dan Frankel and Ed Gainey, both D-Allegheny, state Sen. Jay Costa, D-Allegheny, and state Sen. Larry Farnese, D-Phila., will bring Pennsylvania’s hate crime laws into the modern era, extend protections to threatened communities, and give law enforcement the tools it needs to prevent and address hate crimes across the commonwealth.
This bill would step up civil and criminal penalties on those who target individuals or groups because of their race, color, religion, national origin, actual or perceived ancestry, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, gender or gender identity. It would also provide tools to fight Civil Rights Violations such as preliminary and permanent injunctive relief against continued violators and people who solicit or provide aid to such violators.
With the number of hate crimes increasing by 17% across the nation according to the U.S. Department of Justice, it is time we provide our law enforcement officials with the tools they need to properly investigate, identify and report crimes of ethnic intimidation.
This legislation would require postsecondary institutions to offer online and anonymous reporting options for students and employees. Anonymous online reporting alerts campus police of a possible hate crime while at the same time serving as an early point of contact, when a victim can learn about the steps required to file a formal report.
This legislation would require, as a condition of probation or parole, an individual who is convicted of ethnic intimidation to perform community service or complete educational classes relating to the motivating factor of the underlying crime. For example, an individual convicted of ethnic intimidation against an individual who is Jewish would be required to take educational classes relating to Judaism.
The legislation would require, as a condition of probation or parole, an individual who is convicted of ethnic intimidation to perform community service or complete educational classes relating to the motivating factor of the underlying crime. For example, an individual convicted of ethnic intimidation against an individual who is Jewish would be required to take educational classes relating to Judaism.
Under this legislation, MPOETC will be required to train all law enforcement agencies under its jurisdiction on how to investigate, identify and report offenses based on race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, sexual identity, age or disability of the victim.
Senate Bill 946 would require postsecondary institutions to offer online and anonymous reporting options for students and employees. Anonymous online reporting alerts campus police of a possible hate crime while at the same time serving as an early point of contact, when a victim can learn about the steps required to file a formal report.
This legislation would give the Attorney General the power to track hate group activity across the state in an information database system, allowing for better protection of our constituents, the marginalized, and other communities that are often the primary targets of hate. The information in the database would only be accessible by law enforcement agencies across the state, to better inform them of the hate group activity in their region.
Reported increases in far-right violence have led policymakers to search for new solutions. Because these attacks on vulnerable communities are often investigated and prosecuted as hate crimes or violent crimes, part of the solution is ensuring that they are accurately tracked and reported. Unfortunately, federal hate crimes data is flawed and incomplete. This is due in large part to the Department of Justice’s reliance on voluntary reporting from state and local law enforcement to fulfill its obligation to report national hate crimes data.
There are wide disparities in the protections provided by the various state hate crimes laws, resulting in unequal protection from similar violent crimes in different jurisdictions and the frustration of efforts to collect and maintain accurate national data regarding these attacks. Six Five states — Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, North Dakota, South Carolina, and Wyoming — do not even have hate crime laws.
The table below illustrates the differences in hate crimes laws among the states and U.S. territories. It includes all state hate crimes statutes as well as laws that protect against activities commonly understood as hate crimes, such as displaying a noose or burning a cross. The table tracks whether the statutes establish independent hate crime offenses or if they are used to enhance penalties on underlying crimes. It also notes statutes that require data collection, hate crimes training for law enforcement officers, or provisions for alternative resolutions to addressing the harms caused by such crimes.