BUFFALO, New York (Reuters) - The number of hate crimes reported in New York state rose 14 percent in 2009, although FBI data suggest a nationwide decline in similar crimes of bias, according to a new report.
The New York Division of Criminal Justice Services said a total of 683 hate crimes were reported to police in 2009, compared with 599 the previous year.
Forty-three of the state’s 62 counties reported such crimes.
Data for 2010 is not yet available, DCJS spokeswoman Janine Kava said.
Slightly more than half the cases reported in New York involved assault, intimidation, murder or robbery against an individual. The rest reflected damage to property, according to the report released Thursday.
New York City accounted for 40 percent of all the state’s reported hate crimes in 2009.
National data compiled by the FBI shows a reported 6,034 hate crimes in 2009, down from 7,783 incidents the previous year.
Kava said state statutes differ from federal laws when considering what qualifies as a hate crime, with New York state taking age and gender into account more frequently.
“Only when law enforcement investigation reveals sufficient evidence to lead a reasonable and prudent person to conclude that the offender’s actions were motivated, in whole or in part, by his or her bias, should an incident be reported as a hate crime,” reads an excerpt from the FBI’s online report.
In New York the largest single motivating bias was religion, at 43 percent or 294 reported incidents against individuals or property. Data from the nation as a whole have consistently attributed the majority of cases to racial bias.
Race crimes have accounted for roughly half of all hate crimes reported in the U.S. for the last four consecutive years according to FBI data.
In New York state between 2008 and 2009, hate crimes were most frequently motivated by anti-Jewish bias, accounting for 37 percent, followed by anti-black (21 percent), anti-male homosexual (12 percent) and anti-Hispanic (6 percent).
Editing by Jerry Norton