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The Nation | IN BRIEF / ALABAMA

FBI Undercounts Hate Crime, Group Contends

November 30, 2001|From Times Wire Reports

The Southern Poverty Law Center said in a report that the FBI severely underestimates the number of crimes of bigotry and racism.

The FBI counts about 8,000 bias-motivated crimes in America annually, but the group said the actual number may total 50,000. The report blames police who don't label offenses as hate crimes, since federal law that governs compiling of the data makes compliance voluntary.

FBI spokeswoman Maryvictoria Pyne acknowledged flaws in the data but said the system will improve as public and police awareness of bias crimes increases.

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