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FBI Says Hate Crimes Increased in 2006Tim King Salem-News.com
Most of the Hate Crime incidents are motivated by religion.
(PORTLAND, Ore.) - There were more Hate Crimes in both Oregon and Washington last year, according to a report released today by the FBI. Hate Crimes, also sometimes referred to as "bias motivated crimes", occur when a victim is targeted because of their membership in a particular social group, often defined by race, religion, sexual orientation, disability, ethnicity, nationality, age, gender, gender identity, or even their political affiliation.
Hate Crimes are different from conventional crimes, which are directed simply at an individual, but are meant to cause fear and intimidation to an entire group or class of people.
Beyond the general increases, one particularly disturbing trend shows that Hate Crimes connected to religion more than doubled in Oregon in 2006 when compared to the previous year, with Washington close behind.
As disturbing as that may be, the biggest problem tied to hate crimes continues to be racial bigotry: "In both states, race was the motivation for almost half of the attacks." the FBI says. "Other motivations include the victim's religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity or disability."
The federal statistics for 2006 indicate that 141 Hate Crime incidents happened in Oregon, and 177 in Washington. In 2005, there were 137 hate crime incidents in Oregon, and 171 in Washington.
Religious Hate Crimes Surge
Oregon actually saw a decrease in racially motivated Hate Crimes in 2006, but criminal actions motivated by religion, jumped from 12 in 2005, to 27 last year. Salem saw the vandalism of the Sikh Temple on 860 Oakhill Avenue S.E. in south Salem early on the morning of July 27th.
That particular act of vandalism was a Hate Crime in Salem's backyard, and it alarmed many people as fire was involved and the entire building could have gone up in flames if quick action had not been taken.
A Sikh named Singh Sahib Sathanuman Singh Khalsa commented to Salem-News.com recently that Sikhs have been singled out since the attacks on the United States on September 11th, 2001.
"When Osama bin Laden's picture was put up on the screen on 9/11 and since, people had to focus their hate and revenge on someone and something. He wore a white turban and had a beard. Its important to note that there are 1,000,000,000 Muslims in the World and most don't wear turbans, especially in America. Mostly they trim or shave their beards, and very few if not all have short hair. They are NOT Sikhs and are from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Africa, Middle East, Europe and America."
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Hate Crime incidents involving sexual orientation stayed about the same, there were 25 in 2006 and 26 in 2005. There were six fewer incidents related to ethnicity, only 23 recorded in 2006, where 29 were recorded in 2005.
One thing Oregonians can be happy about is that there were no recorded incidents over either of the last two years, of a Hate Crime being committed against a disabled person.
Washington: Similar State in a Similar State
Washington state saw a similar increase in 2006, and the state has had more reported Hate Crimes than Oregon over each of the last two years. Racially motivated Hate Crimes dropped from 107 in 2005, to 87 last year, but there were almost twice as many Hate Crime incidents that related to Religion last year: 30 in 2006, and only 17 in 2005.
Hate Crimes related to sexual orientation in Washington surged this year also, with 37 incidents in 2006, and a substantially lower 26 in 2005.
Ethnicity motivated Hate Crimes were unchanged: 21 incidents were reported in both 2005 and 2006.
Washington had two Hate Crime incidents related to people who suffered from disabilities.
The FBI says more than half of the underlying offenses related to the hate crimes were violent.
"In terms of violent offenses, police agencies cited aggravated assaults, simple assaults and intimidation most often. In terms of property crimes, police agencies cited destruction of property or vandalism most often."
The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program publishes the Hate Crime Statistics annually. You can read the entire report and the national summary press release at fbi.gov/ucr/ucr.htm
The FBI gathers their statistics from police agencies throughout the nation. They say the federal agency does not analyze the data for the cities or states, and each city or state is in the best position to explain why crimes may be up or down based on individual factors in that jurisdiction.
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