More Than 100 Federal Law Enforcement Agencies Not Reporting Hate Crimes to FBI
A startling number of federal law enforcement agencies are neglecting to submit statistics to the FBI’s national hate crimes database, according to ProPublica.
Maintained by the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services Division, this database is used to tabulate the number of alleged hate crimes occurring around the nation each year.
Not only does this cause a flaw in the database which is intended to serve as the nation’s most comprehensive source of hate crime information, but these actions also violate the 1988 Uniform Federal Crime Reporting Act which requires all U.S. government law enforcement agencies to send an array of crime data to the FBI.
The FBI identified at least 120 federal agencies that aren’t uploading information to the database, according to Amy Blasher, a unit chief at the CJIS division, an arm of the bureau that is overseeing the modernization of its information systems. Because of this, the Bureau’s annual tally of hate crime statistics does not include any offenses handled by federal law enforcement.
“We truly don’t understand what’s happening with crime in the U.S. without the federal component,” Blasher said in an interview.
In 2015, the database tracked more than 5,580 alleged hate crime incidents, including 257 targeting Muslims, an upward surge of 67 percent from the previous year.
Because these figures were largely comprised of information from state and local police departments, the true statistics for 2015 are likely much higher.
“It’s fascinating and very disturbing,” said Rep. Don Beyer, D-Va., who said he wants to see federal agencies “reporting hate crimes as soon as possible.”
Beyer, who is sponsoring the House bill, titled the “National Opposition to Hate, Assault, and Threats to Equality Act,” said he would consider drafting new legislation to improve hate crimes reporting by federal agencies, or try to build such a provision into the appropriations bill.
“The federal government needs to lead by example. It’s not easy to ask local and state governments to submit their data if these 120 federal agencies aren’t even submitting hate crimes data to the database,” Beyer said.
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