THE WHITE HOUSE

                       Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release                          September 13, 2000

                        September 13, 2000


SUBJECT: Improving Hate Crimes Reporting

Unfortunately, each year our country experiences a number of hate crimes.
We have all heard about the heinous incidents such as the dragging death of
James Byrd, Jr., in Jasper, Texas, in June 1998.  In October of that same
year, Mathew Shepard, a gay college student, died after being beaten and
tied to a fence.  In July 1999, Benjamin Smith went on a racially motivated
shooting spree in Illinois and Indiana.  At the end of this rampage fueled
by hate, Ricky Byrdsong, an African American who was a former basketball
coach at Northwestern University, and Won-Joon Yoon, a Korean graduate
student at Indiana University, were killed, and eight others were wounded.
In August 1999, Joseph Ileto, an Asian American and U.S. postal worker,
died at the hands of a gunman in Los Angeles.  This same gunman also
injured five persons, including three children, at a Jewish community
center.  Finally, this year there were two rampages in Pennsylvania in
which several people of various ethnic, racial, and religious backgrounds
were killed or injured.  These crimes affect the entire Nation, the
communities in which they occur, and the victims and their families in ways
fundamentally different from other crimes.  People are targeted simply
because of who they are -- whether it is because of their race, religion,
color, sexual orientation, gender, or disability.

During my Administration, we have worked hard to fight hate crimes.  I
established the National Church Arson Task Force in June 1996 to oversee
the investigation and prosecution of arson at houses of worship around the
country.  I held the first-ever White House Conference on Hate Crimes in
November 1997.  At the conference, I announced that the Department of
Justice would establish Hate Crimes Working Groups in the U.S. Attorneys'
districts across the country.  These working groups, essentially
Federal-State-local partnerships, typically include representation from the
U.S. Attorney?s Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), State
and local law enforcement and prosecutors' offices, educators, and
community groups.  The groups work to ensure close coordination on hate
crimes investigations and prosecutions among responsible law enforcement
agencies; promote training of police, investigators, and prosecutors in
identifying and dealing with hate crimes; encourage victims to report hate
crimes; and educate the public about the harm they cause.  In April of this
year, I held a strategy session with some representatives of these Hate
Crimes Working Groups at which law enforcement officials -- at the Federal,
State, and local levels -- reported that they coordinate closely on hate
crimes investigations and prosecutions.

In 1998, the last year for which FBI figures are available, 7,755 hate
crimes were reported -- nearly one hate crime every hour of every day.  Of
these hate crimes reported, 56 percent were motivated by race, 18 percent
by religion, and 16 percent by sexual orientation.  However, there was
certainly an underreporting of hate crimes.

Today, I announced a new report, "Improving the Quality and Accuracy of
Bias Crime Statistics Nationally:  An Assessment of the First Ten Years of
Bias Crime Data Collection," which was funded by the Department of Justice.
This report noted that over 10,000 city, county, and State law enforcement
agencies now participate in the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Hate
Crime Data Collection Program.  Although 83 percent of participating
agencies reported that no hate crimes had occurred in their jurisdiction
during the previous year, follow-up surveys with line officers showed that
31 percent of those agencies had investigated one or more incidents of hate
crimes.  These data indicate a disconnect between what line officers
believe are hate crimes and what is reported to the FBI.  Extra-polating
from this data, the report estimates that between 5,000 and 6,000
additional agencies may have encountered hate crimes that were not reported
to the national program.  In addition, the report noted that 85 percent of
law enforcement officers responding to a survey believed that
hate-motivated crimes are more serious than similar crimes that are not
motivated by bias.

Based on the results of this report, I hereby direct the Department of
Justice to work with State and local law enforcement agencies, as well as
relevant law enforcement organizations, to come up with a plan to improve
hate crimes reporting, within 120 days.  I understand that the Department
already plans to meet with representatives of State and local law
enforcement organizations later this month.  In addition to this meeting,
the Department should consider in its plan whether various actions, such as
the following, would improve hate crimes reporting:

?    Pilot programs in jurisdictions where law enforcement agencies
reported zero incidents of hate crimes;

?    A study to analyze the role that juvenile offenders play in the number
of hate crimes committed each year;

?    Training sessions by Federal law enforcement on identifying and
reporting hate crimes; and

?    Activities by the U.S. Attorney Hate Crimes Working Groups to work
with community groups and local law enforcement to improve hate crimes
reporting in their areas, including helping to bring more victims forward
to the police.

In carrying out these activities, I know that you will continue your
leadership on fighting and preventing hate crimes in order to make this
country a safer place for all Americans.

                                   WILLIAM J. CLINTON

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