10 U.S. States Most Plagued By Hate Crimes

A white supremacist was identified as the suspect in shootings at two Jewish community centers in Kansas City last week, on Sunday April 13th 2014. Frazier Glenn Cross, aka Frazier Glenn Miller, is a 73-year-old ex-grand dragon of the Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, an organization infamous for racist and anti-semitic motivations. Miller was also the founder of another white supremacist group, the White Patriot Party. His shooting rampage ended with three dead, and the crime is being investigated as a hate crime.

Congress defines a hate crime as a “criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender's bias against a race, religion, disability, ethnic origin, or sexual orientation.” Usually, these are crimes that are violent in nature, and can include offenses like murder, assault, arson or vandalism.

While many people realize that violence against the LGBT community is considered a hate crime, it wasn't that way until 2009. The passage of a new law gave the federal government the authority to prosecute violent hate crimes against gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgendered people. The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act also helped with the prosecution of hate crimes based on sexual orientation by providing funding and assistance to states and other jurisdictions to help them investigate, prosecute, and prevent hate crimes.

According to the FBI, in 2012, 48.3% of 5,790 single-bias incidents in 2012 were racially motivated, while 19.6% were based on sexual orientation and 19% from religious bias. Of the 5,331 known offenders, 54.6% of them were white, and 23.3% were black.

Each year, the FBI compiles statistics about reported hate crimes, of all kinds, in every state. Not only does America identify hate crimes that damaged people directly and violently, but they also monitor groups that preach hatred as this can, of course, incite violence and exacerbate racist sentiment.

One very important note to consider when looking at these rankings is that there are many variables at play that may or may not be quantifiable. When looking at these rankings, it's important to remember that these stats are only a small piece of the puzzle and are not, of course, definitive proof that any one state has more hatred or bias than any other. These are simply statistics of reported crimes during a certain period of time.

Continue scrolling to keep reading

Click the button below to start this article in quick view

Start Now

9 Maine - 3.91 crimes per 100,000 people

Maine's two most prominent hate groups (as designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center) are the Ku Klux Klan and the National Socialist Movement, a Neo-Nazi group that specializes in provocative protests such as dressing in full Nazi uniforms. The NSM is extremely anti-Semitic. Not necessarily related to the NSM, there were several cases of swastikas and other anti-Semitic graffiti being spray painted on synagogues in Bangor, Maine in 2012. Three teens were arrested and two of them were charged with aggravated criminal mischief while the other was charged with misdemeanor criminal mischief/vandalism.

8 Washington - 3.95 crimes per 100,000 people

Washington has at least ten known hate groups including the Aryan Nations and other Neo-Nazi groups. In 2013, there was an incident where a racial slur was spray-painted on an African-American's car before it was set on fire. And in 2012, a white man chased and threatened three black teens with a gun while yelling racial slurs at them. 29-year-old Jerry Blackburn was charged with attempted second-degree murder.

7 Nevada - 4.15  crimes per 100,000 people

Nevada may be home to Las Vegas, a city that most would consider to be open minded given the reputation it has as a fun, party town where anything and everything goes. However, Las Vegas has several well-known hate groups within its city limits including several White Nationalist groups, the Ku Klux Klan, Skinheads, and Neo-Nazis. In 2012, three white supremacists were indicted on capital murder and weapons charges for killing two anti-racist skinheads, a white person and a black person. Also in 2012, a gay man was assaulted after leaving a club. The attacker was said to be shouting anti-gay slurs.

6 Connecticut - 4.17 crimes per 100,000 people

Connecticut has five recognized hate organizations in their state including the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, Nation of Islam, National Socialist Movement, Red October, and The Creativity Movement. Most of us are unfortunately familiar with the KKK, one of the oldest white supremacist groups, and one of the most infamous: On July 8, 2013, it was reported that the United Klans of America leave racist propaganda fliers and leaflets in driveways and yards.

5 Alabama - 4.25 crimes per 100,000 people

In early 2013, a 17-year-old named Derek Shrout planned to commit hate crimes against his fellow high school students. If he hadn't left a book detailing his plans somewhere where a teacher was able to find them, it likely wouldn't have been discovered until too late. Shrout is a self-proclaimed white supremacist who'd made his own explosives and had targeted at least six students and one teacher in his plans. Police searched his home and found dozens of items that were one step away from being turned into homemade grenades. Thankfully, his plans were discovered and stopped because as police said, he had obviously put a lot of thought into this.

4 Tennessee - 4.91 crimes per 100,000 people

In the state of Tennessee, 1 in every 3 hate crimes are racially motivated. The Volunteer State is home to at least 37 known hate groups including the anti-Muslim Citizen Warrior and the Fraternal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. With the majority of the groups being Neo-Nazi or white supremacist, there are also chapters of the Nation of Islam (Black Separatist). You will also find some Neo-Confederate groups such as League of the South which believes that a “godly” nation is one run by an Anglo-Celtic (white) that would run the country as a Christian theocratic state.

3 Kentucky - 5.31 crimes per 100,000 people

In 2012, a case in Kentucky added fuel to the hate crime fire when two men were acquitted of kidnapping and beating a gay man while yelling anti-gay slurs at him. David and Anthony Jenkins, along with Anthony's wife and sister, were alleged to have taken 28-year-old Kevin Pennington into a remote area in southeastern Kentucky where they beat him. Pennington managed to get away as they looked for a tire iron with which to beat him. The two girls, Alexis and Mabel, were charged with the first ever convictions for a hate crime with a gay bias under the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. The two men, however, were charged with lesser crimes of kidnapping and conspiracy.

2 North Dakota - 5.95 crimes per 100,000 people

North Dakota might be a surprising addition to the list, but the perhaps ironically-named “Peace Garden State,” made the news in 2013 when a hate crime fugitive from Canada named Craig Cobb bought several lots of land in Leith, N.D and encouraged white supremacists to move there. He called the all-white enclave “Cobbsville” and named part of the property “Adolph {sic} Hitler Pvt. Park of Leith.” His dreams of an all white utopian paradise weren't meant to be as he was arrested along with a 29-year-old supporter donning a Hitler mustache, for terrorizing local residents. They were arrested after flying swastika flags, carrying shotguns and shouting obscenities at citizens in the region.

1 Michigan - 6.38 crimes per 100,000 people

Detroit and Flint are known for their high crime rates, but apparently Michigan is also a hotbed for hate crime. Michigan is one of several states that do not classify violence against members of the LGBT community as a hate crime; if they did, they might rank higher than our number two spot on the list. Naturally, human rights activists and LGBT rights advocates are pushing for the law to be adopted. The need for a law to protect the LGBT community from hate crime was highlighted recently, when a 28-year-old Michigan woman was beaten while on her way home from work by three men yelling anti-gay epithets at her. The men recognized her from the TV coverage of her wedding; she and her partner were among a group of gay and lesbian couples to get married after a federal court struck down a Michigan amendment banning gay marriage.

D.C has been in the news many times for their general crime rate. For many years, it's been considered one of the most dangerous cities in the United States, so it likely comes as no surprise that they're number one on the list for having the most hate crimes as well. One thing should be noted however, and this could affect the ranking some: Several states still do not classify violence against LGBT people as a hate crime, while D.C does. This might explain the large jump in hate crime rates from Michigan - who don't classify LGBT violence as a hate crime - to D.C, who do.

More in Most Shocking