The number of hate crimes jumped 68 percent in the District last year, with incidents based on the victims' sexual orientation making up nearly two-thirds of reported incidents, according to FBI data released Monday.
Thirty-five of the 57 incidents reported in D.C. in 2010 were motivated by sexual orientation, the FBI statistics say. In 2009, 30 of 34 incidents were based on sexual orientation.
D.C. also saw increases in other types of hate crimes. Incidents motivated by race spiked from two in 2009 to 14 last year.
|Motivated by:||Race||Religion||Sexual orientation||Ethnicity|
It's hard to tell whether those numbers are the result of more crimes being committed, more victims reporting the offenses or law enforcement doing a better job documenting them, said David Friedman, the D.C. regional director for the Anti-Defamation League.
But the number of attacks targeting the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender groups "has to increase our concerns about the vulnerability of this community," Friedman said.
The prevalence of sexual-orientation-based crimes in D.C. is unusual. Just 19 percent of hate crimes nationwide in 2010 were based on sexual orientation.
The District's LGBT community has encouraged its members to report bias-motivated crimes, and officers have become better at recording the incidents as hate crimes, said Rick Rosendall, vice president of political affairs for the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance. Rosendall said better data-gathering likely contributed to some of the increase.
"I think we have a ways to go, but we are doing better at trying to document this," D.C. police union chief Kris Baumann said.
Racially motivated crimes have also risen this year. Through the end of October, 22 racially based offenses had already been reported, according to D.C. police statistics.
Police Chief Cathy Lanier said this summer that offenses against Hispanics and whites were on the rise.
In Fairfax, the majority were race-based. Those incidents largely consisted of spray-painting on houses, police spokeswoman Lucy Caldwell said.