During the 2011 calendar year, 139 hate crimes were reported by 58 of the 407 local law enforcement agencies that provide data to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement through the Uniform Crime Reporting information system.
During 2011, the alleged motivating factors behind the reported hate crimes were as follows:
- Race represented 43.2 percent;
- Religion represented 20.9 percent;
- Sexual orientation represented 20.1 percent;
- Ethnicity/national origin represented 15.1 percent; and
- Mental disability represented 0.7 percent.
While the total number of hate crimes dropped by 6.7 percent from 2010, the number of assaults increased dramatically. In 2011, assaults comprised 51.8 percent of the reported hate crimes, the first time in seven years that crimes against individuals instead of property made up more than half of the total hate crimes. In 2010, hate crime-based assaults were 38.9 percent of the total 149 hate crimes reported.
In our two-county area, nine hate crimes were reported in 2011 – which means our little area was responsible for 6.47 percent of the hate crimes committed in the state. (Note: Escambia and Santa Rosa counties comprise only 2.38 of the state’s 19.05 million people)
Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s: 4
- Intimidation due to Ethnicity\Nat’l Origin: 3
- Intimidation due to Race: 1
Escambia County Sheriff’s Office: 2
- Aggravated Assault due to Ethnicity\Nat’l Origin: 2
Pensacola Police Department: 2
- Simple Assault due to Sexual Orientation: 1
- Simple Assault due to Race: 1
Milton Police Department: 1
- Aggravated Assault Ethnicity\Nat’l Origin: 1
Both Escambia County and City of Pensacola are up over 2010 – during which Pensacola Police report no hate crimes and Escambia County three. Santa Rosa County reported the same as in 2010, and the City of Milton reported no hate crimes for that year.
Hate crime is an act committed or attempted by one person or group against another – or that person’s property – that in any way constitutes an expression of hatred toward the victim based on his or her personal characteristics.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement notes in its Hate Crime Report Manual, that the motivation behind the act is the key element in determining whether an incident is hate-related. Ultimately, it is up to the judgment of individual law enforcement officers and agencies to determine whether a particular incident constitutes a hate crime and is therefore reported as such to the state.