Last week, the FBI announced there were 5,850 hate crimes in 2015—a 7 percent increase over the year before. But that total, which is based on voluntary reports of hate crimes from local and state police departments, is likely far lower than the real number. The Bureau of Justice Statistics estimated about 260,000 hate crimes annually in a 2013 report looking at hate crimes between 2007 and 2011. The BJS's estimate was based on anonymous responses to the National Crime Victimization Survey, which the bureau conducts every year.
But most of those crimes are never heard by a jury. Federal prosecutors pressed forward with just 13 percent of hate crime cases referred to them between January 2010 and August 2015, according to an analysis of DOJ data by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University, and only 11 percent of those referrals ended in conviction. Data on hate crime prosecutions at the state level are scarce, but, in its 2013 study, the Bureau of Justice Statistics found that only 4 percent of these crimes even result in an arrest.
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