New Hampshire Public Radio reported a surge in the number of hate crimes in New Hampshire for 2016. In sounding the alarm, they quote lower figures for previous years and link to a statement by the Anti-Defamation League not just decrying the rise but insisting that hate crimes are still under-reported.
Sadly, no one takes time to point out that the rise is probably a result of expanding what can be reported as a hate crime and what constitutes a single incident for reporting purposes. And that’s without even getting into the subjective nature of what could constitute a report of a hate crime.
The FBI admits that the data is not just based on subjective declarations, there are frequent changes to reporting and collection that make year-to-year comparisons a challenge.
The second paragraph on the FBI’s Hate Crimes methodology page is titled ‘Caution to users,’ which the reporter at NPR either never saw or ignored. Emphasis mine, throughout.
Valid assessments about crime, including hate crime, are possible only with careful study and analysis of the various conditions affecting each local law enforcement jurisdiction. (See Uniform Crime Reporting Statistics: Their Proper Use.) In addition, some data in this publication may not be comparable to those in prior editions of Hate Crime Statistics because of differing levels of participation from year to year. Therefore, the reader is cautioned against making simplistic comparisons between the statistical data of this program and that of others with differing methodologies or even comparing individual reporting units solely on the basis of their agency type.
The data is only as good as the reporting provided by local law enforcement to the FBI, reporting whose rules and definitions have been changing and growing from year to year making no previous year anything like those that followed. More from the FBI.
The Hate Crime Statistics Program of the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program collects data regarding criminal offenses that were motivated, in whole or in part, by the offender’s bias against a race, gender, gender identity, religion, disability, sexual orientation, or ethnicity, and were committed against persons, property, or society. Because motivation is subjective, it is sometimes difficult to know with certainty whether a crime resulted from the offender’s bias.
Bias is determined by those investigating the scene who then decide whether circumstances could fit the current definition of what the FBI wants to see reported, or what they’ve been told is a local priority. This means that there is bias in the reporting of bias (in case it never occurred to you how obvious that problem would be), which isn’t the only reason the entire concept of hate crime designation is ridiculous.
But we have them, hate crimes designations I mean, so we have to deal with them. For New Hampshire Public Radio’s purposes, a Hate Crime is defined by the FBI as, a “traditional offense like murder, arson, or vandalism with an added element of bias.”
It’s simple, and keeping it simple helps to sell the surge they are reporting, but in reality, the process is not just complex it is different for 2016 from 2015, or even 2013, or any years preceding that.
Previous definitions of the hate crime designation tied to rape, as one example, were limited to women who reported forcible rape. In 2013 forcible was removed from the definition. The FBI’s 2016 methodology page allows the reporting of hate crime related rape,
(1) without regard to gender, (2) including penetration of any bodily orifice by any object or body part, and (3) including offenses where physical force is not involved.
No small change, that.
New Hampshire didn’t report any of those in 2016. The forty “Hate crimes” it did file with the FBI include one aggravated assault, five simple assaults, twenty-four acts of intimidation, and ten related to property and vandalism. (We will assume the ten acts of vandalism were not all hoaxes, but there is a high probability that some were.)
As for Intimidation, this is a very broad brush to which the FBI (in 2015) added, “Religion and Anti-Arab Bias Motivations.”
In 2015, the UCR Program began permitting law enforcement agencies to report seven new religious anti-bias categories (anti-Buddhist, anti-Eastern Orthodox, anti-Hindu, anti-Jehovah’s Witness, anti-Mormon, anti-Other Christian, and anti-Sikh), as well as an anti-Arab bias motivation.
Additionally, in 2016 the FBI allowed local law enforcement to, report offenses of animal cruelty, identity theft, and hacking/computer invasion, as hate crimes when their investigation supported such declarations.
Human trafficking and a number of other classifications have been added in the last few years which, if you read far enough into the FBI’s methodology, make the NHPR FBI definition woefully inadequate.
The law enforcement agencies that voluntarily participate in the Hate Crime Statistics Program collect details about offenders’ bias motivations associated with 13 offense types already being reported to the UCR Program: murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, rape (revised and legacy definitions), aggravated assault, simple assault, intimidation, human trafficking—commercial sex acts, and human trafficking—involuntary servitude (crimes against persons); and robbery, burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, arson, and destruction/damage/vandalism (crimes against property).
These are all crimes, some of them grotesque and heinous whose punishment need not be burdened by adding “hate crime” reporting, but add it they did, while expanding some definition. And there’s nothing wrong with that unless you don’t make it clear in the reporting.
Another problem with the SURGE!, is accumulation through multiple reports from a single event. It looks like the quantity may not be limited to the documentation of “hate crime” incidents. Remember, the unhinged, overtriggered, freak-out at UNH over someone on campus wearing a sombrero on May 5th? That single event could (potentially) produce multiple hate crime reports, each of which could count as one for the FBI’s records, even though they all resulted from that individual triggering snowflakes all across the quad.
So, even if you believe we should classify hate crimes differently than any other crime (which, by the way, is a gross contradiction to your so-called equality narrative) the system has a lot of moving parts, and the parts are different every year. There’s no baseline for comparison.
The only thing we can safely say about the latest FBI data is that we can’t compare it to anything previous, and probably not as a deterrent.
Attaching the words hate from a crime and punishment perspective is only useful if it deters crime, right? Isn’t that one of the more popular arguments for abolishing the death penalty.
Now, look at NHPR’s reporting. At face value, hate crimes are up in the Granite State. The threat of added punishment is no deterrent. And if all we’ve done is increase the numbers by increasing the number of things declared as hate crimes we have no way to measure it as a deterrent. The entire exercise does nothing except give interested parties another place to grind their ax.
Groups like the Defamation league get free press and social justice capital from coming out to say the numbers are higher but not high enough. And they are right, but they are also wrong.
The whole idea that we can deter crime by making subjective judgments about what is biased is itself biased.
What about black on black crime, which accounts for most of the murders in inner cities? That’s just a crime not a hate crime?
Rape is a hate crime no matter who the victim is but not when it doesn’t fall into the bais of the reporting system or the investigators. But why would any of that matter, it’s still rape.
And while we can dispute motives left and right, most acts of murder are probably motived by “hate.”
And how many psychologists does it take to decide that a suspect committed their act of robbery, burglary, or destruction of property because they hate themselves or circumstances, society, or even the government–which is (cue happy progressive dancing unicorns) the one thing to which we all belong. Doesn’t that make it a hate crime against all of us? And when they are all hate crimes, well, they are all still crimes, just without the extra extraneous social justice baggage.
That might not get as many clicks or eyeballs in a crowded internet landscape. And you know how the liberal media, politicians, and academia need to talk about hate.
A lot of hate on the left.
Maybe that’s why they think we need the designation in the first place.
It’s all just left-wing projection and an excuse to raise taxes for policing, no doubt.