But Lou Dobbs Tonight's Feb 26 analysis of FBI figures on hate crime reveals that the numbers of criminal acts against diverse persons are trending down, not up. And the FBI doesn't track "hate groups."
KITTY PILGRIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The Southern Poverty Law Center says absolutely hate crime — hate groups in America are growing. They say the debate over immigration, the recession and the election of Barack Obama, the first black president, is animating more hate groups. But the director of the Southern Poverty Law Center today admitted there are no data on the increased recruitment of hate groups. [...]CNN's Lou Dobbs - "Hate Crimes Going Down, Not Up"
Now, we talked to the FBI today about the report. The FBI does not recognize the term "hate group." They told us they do not monitor individuals or groups of individuals based on what they think or they say, or because a group or individual espouses a cause. It's only when a line is crossed and when an act of violence is committed.
Now, by that measure, hate crimes are going down. The FBI uses data collected by state and local law-enforcement agencies, and this is what we've found. In 1995, hate crimes totaled 7,974. In 2007, 12 years later, they totaled 7,624. That's a decline of 4 percent.
Meanwhile, the U.S. population rose 16 percent in that period of time. So, hate crimes are definitely declining, according to the FBI. And it's interesting, Lou, what the Southern Poverty Law Center defines as a hate group. They say it's based on ideology. It's not based on action. If you're included in this group, it's not based on criminality or violence or future.