December 10, 2012

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has put out its data on hate crimes from 2011. The good news is that the number of hate crimes was down to 6,222 incidents involving 7,254 offenses. That is a 6 percent drop from the preceding year (when 6,628 hate crime incidents involving 7,699 offenses were reported) and it’s the lowest since 1994 (extraordinary when you consider the population growth). To put that  in context, in 2011, with total U.S. population of more than 300 million people, some 1,203,564 violent crimes  and 9,063,173 property crimes were reported.


FBI headquarters (Manuel Balce Ceneta/Associated Press)

In an ideal country, we’d have no hate crimes. But in the United States it is safe to say that hate crimes, that is the number of crimes based on racial, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religious or disability bias, are a minuscule proportion of total crime, and are perpetrated by 5,731 individuals. (That is about .19 percent of the population, less than one-quarter of 1 percent.)

There are two items in the data that caught my eye. Both would challenge some common tropes you hear in mainstream media.

 First, among religious hate crimes, Jews make up the overwhelming number of victims (63.2 percent), but the total number, again, is tiny (936). Anti-Muslim hate crimes (in a country in which the left and groups like CAIR tell us is rife with Islamophobia) are much more rare. Muslim hate-crime victims make up only 12.5 percent of the anti-religious hate crimes. That is 185 victims. Any crime based on bias is to be deplored, but we don’t have either rampant anti-Semitic crime or Islamophobia crime. When the Anti-Defamation League says that “that anti-Semitism is still a serious and deeply entrenched problem in America,” I have to say bunk, at least if you are looking at FBI crime stats.

Second, hate crimes are not a “white only” problem. In fact, while whites make up 59 percent of hate-crime offenders, they make up about 78 percent of the population. In other words, whites commit most hate crimes, but they are disproportionately low among hate-crime offenders.

We have an epidemic of crime in this country. But we don’t have an epidemic of hate crime. And as for anti-Semitism, there is no place on the planet with less of it than the United States. Again, a world without hate crime would be ideal, but the United States is doing, I would suggest, about as well as humanly possible.

Jennifer Rubin writes the Right Turn blog for The Post, offering reported opinion from a conservative perspective.