Need a hate crime? Georgia has 17 you can use

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The number of reported anti-gay crimes doubled in Georgia last year, which must be encouraging news to the state’s two hate groups with a gay bent. But thankfully, the total only reached four.

That’s the takeaway from the FBI’s recent Hate Crime Statistics, which compiled data on bias crimes reported in 2011 from law enforcement agencies across the country. Some 1,508 offenses based on sexual orientation were among the 7,254 bias crimes reported in the U.S. Others include 3,465 based on race, 1,318 on religion, 891 on ethnicity or national origin and 58 on disability.

Police agencies in Georgia reported 21 hate crime offenses stemming from 17 incidents, a slight uptick from the 19 offenses in 2011. Of those 17 incidents, four were based on sexual orientation, 11 on race and two on religion. In 2010, two of Georgia’s 17 hate crime incidents were based on sexual orientation.

Of the four anti-gay bias crimes reported last year, two took place in Atlanta, one in Columbus and one on the campus of the University of Georgia. In 2010, one took place in Atlanta and one in Henry County.

But those numbers come with a few caveats. The FBI does not collect date on hate crimes based on gender identity, though that changes in 2013, and federal law does not require law enforcement agencies to report bias crimes.

The Georgia Supreme Court struck down the state’s hate crimes law in 2004, making it one of five states in the U.S. without such a measure on the books. Since, legislative attempts to pass another measure have failed, though lesbian state Rep. Keisha Waites wants to try again when lawmakers return to the Gold Dome in January.

Also from the FBI’s Hate Crime Statistics:

• There were 6,216 single-bias incidents, of which 46.9 percent were motivated by a racial bias, 20.8 percent were motivated by a sexual orientation bias, 19.8 percent were motivated by a religious bias, and 11.6 percent were motivated by an ethnicity/national origin bias. Bias against a disability accounted for 0.9 percent of single-bias incidents.

• Of the 4,623 hate crime offenses classified as crimes against persons in 2011, intimidation accounted for 45.6 percent, simple assaults for 34.5 percent, and aggravated assaults for 19.4 percent. Four murders and seven forcible rapes were reported as hate crimes.

• There were 2,611 hate crime offenses classified as crimes against property. The majority of these (81.4 percent) were acts of destruction/damage/vandalism. Robbery, burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, arson, and other offenses accounted for the remaining 18.6 percent of crimes against property.

• Fifty-nine percent of the 5,731 known offenders were white; 20.9 percent were black. The race was unknown for 10.8 percent, and other races accounted for the remaining known offenders.

• Most hate crime incidents (32.0 percent) occurred in or near homes. Eighteen percent took place on highways, roads, alleys, or streets; 9.3 percent happened at schools or colleges; 5.9 percent in parking lots or garages; and 4.4 percent in churches, synagogues, or temples. The location was considered other (undesignated) or unknown for 11.3 percent of hate crime incidents. The remaining 19.1 percent of hate crime incidents took place at other specified or multiple locations.

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