According to statistics released today by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, 5,796 criminal incidents involving 6,718 offenses were reported in 2012 as being motivated by a bias toward a particular race, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity/national origin, or physical or mental disability.Via The Federal Bureau of Investigation
While I am pretty comfortable with the crime data reported in the FBI's Uniform Crime Reports numbers for UCR Part 1 crimes which are murders, robberies, burglaries and such. I have a whole lot less confidence in the Hate Crime numbers reported.
It's not that I don't trust police departments to dutifully report the numbers of crimes that meet the "hate crimes" definition nor is it that I don't trust the FBI's UCR program to collect and dutifully compile this numbers and issue a report. My problem is that it's much harder to divine the mind of a criminal to determine why they picked their victim.
Yes, there are rare cases when the criminal will report to police "I hate those people and that's why I did it." But if several members of one race commit a crime against someone of another race how do we know if it's "motivated by a bias toward" the victim based on their race? Is there a certain number of racial epithets they must utter? What if they say nothing at all?
In a country with 319 million persons and 10,189,900 UCR Part 1 Crimes reported in 2012 I find it really hard to believe that there were only 6,718 "hate crimes". Keep in mind that those 10 million plus UCR Part 1 Crimes don't include all the Part 2 Crimes and all the crimes that aren't part of the Uniform Crime Reports program at all.
Kind if beggars belief doesn't it?