Anti-LGBTQ+ Hate Crimes Increase 5% According to Preliminary NYPD Data
(Editor’s note: To understand how this story was reported, please refer to the article titled: “Transparency: How NYC’s Increase Anti-LGBTQ+ Hate Crime Rate Was Reported.” Paragraphs and words with asterisks have additional context on terminology used in the reports and background information at the bottom of the story.)
Preliminary data from the New York Police Department’s (NYPD) Hate Crime Task Force Unit shows that anti-LGBTQ+ hate crimes* have increased 5% in 2021 from 2020. Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens saw an increase overall in anti-LGBTQ+ hate crimes, the Bronx remained stagnant and Staten Island had a decrease.
Terminology used in the reports is not consistent across the years and don’t offer additional information such as race, age, specific neighborhood the incident occurred, what the incident involved and if the person under the transgender category is a transgender male or transgender female.*
Currently, there is only data for hate crime complaints* and arrests of those who committed hate crimes for 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 and quarters one through three for 2021.* Queer on the Street attempted to reach out to Hate Crime Task Force Unit Commanding Officer and Inspector, Jessica Corey, but was unsuccessful.
Out of the 436 hate crimes that have been documented by the NYPD’s Hate Crime Task Force Unit in 2021’s first three quarters, 83 were anti-LGBTQ+ incidents. This number makes up 19.03% of total hate crimes for quarters one through three for 2021 and is a 5.07% increase from 2020 in which anti-LGBTQ+ hate crimes made up 13.96% of NYC’s total hate crimes.
It would be remiss to omit that the highest percentage of hate crime complaints, not LGBTQ+ related, in NYC during the first three quarters were anti-Jewish (34.4%) and anti-Asian (28.7%).
Queer on the Street contacted the Hate Crime Task Force Unit and NYPD via email but was unable to obtain additional information about the anti-LGBTQ+ hate crimes and how they intersect with race and religion and vice versa.
The earliest data the Hate Crime Task Force Unit has goes back to 2017. Using the data from the documents titled “Hate Crime Complaints by Bias Motivation” for 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 and quarters one through three of 2021, Queer on the Street was able to analyze the trends in New York City’s neighborhoods.
The areas with the highest number of hate crimes during the first three quarters of 2021 are Greenwich Village (6th precinct) with 7 reported recorded complaints, Midtown South (14th precinct) with 6, Stuyvesant Heights/Bushwick (81st precinct) with 6, Union Square/Peter Cooper Village (13th Precinct) with 5, and Long Island City (108th precinct) with 4.
(Editor’s note: Download the abridged Queer on the Street report of anti-LGBTQ+ hate crime complaints for anti-LGBTQ+ crimes per neighborhood here.) Once the fourth quarter report is published, those numbers are subject to change.)
It’s important to note that numbers change year to year and two of the neighborhoods (Greenwich Village in Manhattan and Bedford Stuyvesant in Brooklyn) are seeing a downward trend of anti-LGBTQ+ hate crimes, despite being in the the top five neighborhoods.
In addition to this, neighborhoods that have had zero or less than two hate crimes in the last four years, saw an increase of anti-LGBTQ+ violence in quarters one through three in 2021. For example: Astoria, Bloomingdale and Long Island City.
(Editor’s note: The last four neighborhoods were selected based on the highest number for 2021 (4 or more in quarters one through three) and not in the top five neighborhoods with the highest anti-LGBTQ+ complaints) and lowest numbers for 2017-2020. The spreadsheet used to analyze the numbers of the anti-LGBTQ+ hate crimes is available to the public and can be found here. In the spreadsheet, an entire breakdown, for every year, borough, neighborhood, etc. are available for your convenience.)
But what causes someone to commit a hate crime? Sociologists Jack McDebitt and Jack Levin published a study in 2008 titled “Hate Crimes” with their findings that hate crimes are fueled by four motivations: thrill-seeking, defensive, retaliatory and mission.
Quick facts from the study:
Approximately 66% of hate crimes are by thrill seekers with 90% of hate offenders committing crimes against strangers.
McDebitt and Levin found that white, male teenagers are the most common type of thrill seeking hate offenders, “looking for trouble.”
Approximately 25% of hate crimes are by those who find a reason for their attacks due to a perceived “threat.”
An example, not included in the study, is when straight men commit an act of violence against a gay man after being hit on, claiming that they felt threatened.
Approximately 8% of hate crimes are committed in retaliation to a “real or perceived threat.”
An example, not included in the study, would be the increase in anti-Asian violence during the pandemic.
Approximately 1% of hate crimes are committed by career hate offenders. These people typically have made it their life’s mission to cause harm and typically have premeditated plans of harm.
(Editor’s note: the study is available online for free and has been hyper-linked above. However, sometimes links become broken over the years, so in order to maintain integrity of this story, the study has been uploaded as a .PDF document at the bottom of the story).
It is unclear from the data provided by the Hate Crime Task Force Unit which types of people committed these hate crimes or what type of motivations behind the hate crimes were.
According to the Hate Crime Task Force Unit, hate crimes are reported the same way as other crimes (via 311, 911 or walking into a precinct) and “if the situation is deemed to be a possible bias-motivated incident, the NYPD Hate Crime Task Force will be notified.”
It is unclear whether the numbers in these reports are only the crimes the Hate Crime Task Force Unit investigated or if they include all hate crimes that were reported to the NYPD.
Queer on the Street contacted the NYPD Deputy Commissioner Public Information, John J. Miller, with multiple clarification questions but received a response from NYPD media spokesperson, Sergeant Edward Riley, instead. Riley did not answer any of Queer on the Street’s and did not respond to a follow-up email.
It is unknown how many hate crimes in New York City go unreported per year.
1 - “Hate crime” is defined by the Manhattan District Attorney as “a criminal act that targets a victim based on the victim’s actual or perceived race, color, national origin, ancestry, gender, gender identity or expression, religion, religious practice, age, disability or sexual orientation.”
2 - The terminology of “complaint” is law enforcement jargon meaning incident. The other terminology used in the reports categorize anti-LGBTQ+ hate crimes into general categories: “anti-male homosexual (gay);” “anti-female homosexual (lesbian);” “anti-transgender;” “anti-LGBTQ;” “anti-LGBT (mixed group);” and “anti-gender non-conforming.”
3 - The NYPD Hate Crime Task Force Unit operates on a quarter schedule which consists of quarter one (Jan. 1 to March 31), two (April 1 to June 30), three (July 1 to Sept. 30) and four (Oct. 1 to Dec. 31).
4 - There is an epidemic of transgender people, especially Black transgender women, being murdered in the United States. The Human Rights Campaign and TransRespect report on the murders every year. By having these numbers, legislation could be written to better protect transgender women.