Nov 23, 2009 10:01 AM by Associated Press
New FBI data show a sharp increase in hate crimes based on anti-gay or religious bias.
Overall, the number of reported hate crimes increased about 2 percent from last year. These same figures show a nearly 11 percent increase in hate crimes based on sexual orientation, and a nearly 9 percent increase in hate crimes based on religion. The largest category, racially-motivated hate crimes, fell less than 1 percent.
The increases may be party due to more law enforcement agencies reporting hate crimes data to the FBI: 2,145 agencies in 2008, compared to 2,025 agencies the year before. In total, there were 7,783 hate crimes reported to the FBI last year, and seven murders were categorized as hate crimes.