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Updated Tuesday, December 11, 2012 at 06:47 AM

Hate-crime reports down last year, but gays increasingly are targets

By Danielle Ryan
Tribune Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON – More than 6,000 hate crimes were reported to U.S. law-enforcement agencies in 2011, 6 percent fewer than in 2010, the FBI said Monday. Crimes based on victims’ sexual orientation increased slightly.

Nearly half of the 6,222 hate crimes reported in 2011 were racially motivated, the FBI said, with nearly three-quarters directed at African-Americans. More than 16 percent were motivated by anti-white bias.

About 59 percent of the known offenders in all reported hate crimes were white and 21 percent were black, the agency said.

There were 1,508 reported sexual-orientation hate crimes in 2011, up from 1,470 in 2010. Men were victimized most.

Religious bigotry accounted for nearly 20 percent of the hate crimes, most against Jews and 13 percent against Muslims.

Of the 891 offenses based on perceived ethnicity or national origin, the FBI said, 57 percent stemmed from anti-Latino bias.

The numbers in the report reflect only crimes reported to authorities, thus understating the incidence, experts say.

Washington state’s reported hate crimes also fell, from 232 in 2010 to 213 in 2011.

In Seattle, 12 hate crimes were reported to police in 2011, compared with 15 in 2012. Six of the hate crimes in 2011 were motivated by sexual orientation, five were due to racial bias and one based on religion.

Bellevue had 12 reported hate crimes in 2011, seven due to race, four to religion and one to ethnicity, the report said. In 2010, seven hate crimes were reported to police.

Three hate crimes were reported to Everett police in 2011, two for sexual orientation and one because of racial bias, according to the FBI. Two hate crimes were reported in the city in 2010.

The cities with the most reported hate crimes in Washington were Tacoma and Vancouver, according to the FBI.

Tacoma had 24 reported hate crimes in 2011, compared with 35 in 2010.

Vancouver had 19 reported hate crimes in 2011 and 12 in 2010.

Seattle Times staff contributed to this report


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