According to ProPublica scores of federal law enforcement agencies are failing to submit statistics to the FBI’s national hate crimes database.
This is a violation of a longstanding legal mandate. The lack of participation by federal law enforcement represents a significant and largely unknown flaw in the database, which is supposed to be the nation’s most comprehensive source of information about hate crimes. The FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services Division maintains a database, which uses the database to tabulate the number of alleged hate crimes occurring around the nation each year.
The FBI has identified at least 120 federal agencies that aren’t uploading information to the database, according to Amy Blasher, a unit chief at the CJIS Division, an arm of the bureau that is overseeing the modernization of its information systems.
The FBI would not say which agencies declined to participate in the program, but the bureau’s annual tally of hate crimes statistics does not include any offenses handled by federal law enforcement. The problem is so widespread that the FBI itself isn’t submitting the hate crimes it investigates to its own database.
At present, the majority of the information in the database is supplied by state and local police departments. In 2015, the database tracked more than 5,580 alleged hate crime incidents, including 257 targeting Muslims, an upward surge of 67 percent from the previous year.