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Gay Hate Crimes Rank 2nd Highest Category

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Sexual orientation-based bias crime is now the second highest category of hate crime offenses in the United States, according to new information from the Federal Bureau of Investigation ( FBI ) . Previously the third category behind race and religion, 1,430 hate-crime offenses based on sexual orientation were reported in 2003. Six murders were reported based on sexual orientation—the highest category followed closely by four murders based on race bias.

'Hate crime continues to be a national scourge,' said Human Rights Campaign President Cheryl Jacques in a press release.

'The current federal hate-crimes statute needs to be strengthened immediately to give law enforcement the tools they need to combat these crimes.'

According to the FBI report 'Hate Crime Statistics 2003,' 8,715 criminal offenses were identified as being motivated by hate; 1,430 of these offenses ྰ.4 percent) were crimes based on the victim's actual or perceived sexual orientation. Offenses based on race account for the highest category of bias crime at 52.5 percent. The third highest category involves crimes based on religion.'

Of the hate crimes motivated by sexual orientation, 61.6 percent were committed due to anti-male homosexual bias; 21.3 percent were due to an anti-homosexual bias; 15.4 percent were committed due to anti-female homosexual bias; 1 percent involved anti-heterosexual bias; and 0.6 percent involved by anti-bisexual bias. The FBI's numbers differ from those tallied by another organization. In April, Center on Halsted (formerly Horizons Community Services), in conjunction with The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP), released its 2003 hate-crime report regarding anti-LGBT violence in the U.S. The total number of anti-LGBT incidents reported to NCAVP increased 8 percent from the previous year, from 1,903 incidents in 2002 to 2,052 incidents in 2003. Almost in tandem, the number of victims tracked by NCAVP member programs rose 9 percent, from 2,183 in 2002 to 2,385 in 2003. '

In 2003, Chicago reported a total of 56 incidents, up 75 percent from 2002's total of 32. A rise in the number of victims accompanied the rise in incidents from 31 to 56 (+81 percent). Perhaps equally as alarming was the increase in the number of offenders from 46 to 72. Increases in hate crimes in 2003 resulted not only from increases in serial offenders (+140 percent) but also from a larger number of individuals willing to act with violence and/or discrimination (+57 percent).'

— Andrew Davis

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