According to annual data released by the FBI, hate crimes in Arizona are on the rise and Phoenix is leading the pack. These hate crimes include assault, battery, murder and vandalism.
Hate crimes are criminal offenses and are punishable by years in prison. If you have been charged with a hate crime, consult an Arizona criminal defense attorney to avoid jail time and safeguard your freedom.
Hate Crimes in Arizona on the Rise
According to the FBI, hate crimes in the state have been rising. In 2015, there were 276 hate crimes reported, up from 265 in 2014.
In 2016, several jurisdictions in the state did not submit hate crime statistics to the federal agency. Of the 101 jurisdictions that brought forth information in 2015, only 85 did so in 2016, putting the number of hate crimes that year at an incomprehensive 213.
Phoenix Reports Most Hate Crimes
Phoenix led the pack in the number of reported hate crimes in the state. There were 231 reported hate crimes in the city in 2015 compared to 183 in 2014, representing a 26 percent spike that outpaced even the national increase of 6.8 percent. To put things in perspective, Dallas reported only 11 hate crimes while San Antonio reported 12. Both cities have about the same population as Phoenix (1.5 million).
Of the 231 crimes reported, 137 were meted out on the basis of race/ethnicity (the highest ever reported in over a decade) while 40 were based on religion and 49 on sexual orientation.
These Numbers Are Just a Tip of the Iceberg
The FBI believes these numbers barely scratch the surface of the total hate crimes that take place in the United States every day. This is because of a number of reasons:
- Failure to report. Whether it’s verbal insults, vandalism or threatened/actual use of physical force, many such incidences of hate crime occur every day and are never reported to authorities.
- Poor data collection. The problem is compounded by inefficient data collection systems used by authorities across the states.
- Failure to submit reports. Even the little data that is collected is not always submitted to the FBI. The federal bureau still depends on voluntarily submitted information from jurisdictions across the country. Some jurisdictions fail to submit their data because they missed the deadline or simply forgot.
For these reasons, authorities are not able to fully account for all incidences of hate crime in the country, leaving a huge data gap.
Hate crimes are serious offenses. If you or someone you know has been charged with a hate crime, talk to an Arizona assault criminal defense attorney. Our attorneys will be able to assess the specific facts of your case and determine the best strategy for your defense. Call us today to arrange a free legal consultation.