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FBI: Crimes motivated by race, religion, other similar factors down last year

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There were 98 bias crime incidents reported to law enforcement in Minnesota last year, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation's bias crime report released Monday.

That's down from the 144 cases reported in Minnesota in 2013.

And bias crimes – which include crimes motivated by race, gender, gender identity, religion, disability, sexual orientation and ethnicity – across the country were also down in 2014 when compared to the year before, the FBI said in a news release.

Forty-seven percent of bias crimes in the U.S. in 2014 were motivated by race (see table above), the FBI says.

In Minnesota, race was the main motivator for hate crimes last year as well, accounting for 55 of the 98 reported incidents, the report shows. The most common types of crimes included intimidation, simple assault and vandalism, the report says.

Twenty-seven of the 292 jurisdictions in Minnesota that participated in the survey reported hate crimes, with Minneapolis and St. Paul reporting the most.

There were 32 hate crimes in Minneapolis in 2013, with the report showing race, religion and sexual orientation were the top motivators for the crime. In St. Paul, there were 16 bias crimes reported last year; race was the motivation for 14 of the 16 incidents.

For a complete breakdown of bias crimes by jurisdiction, click here. And for more on Minnesota's bias crime laws, click here.

Are hate crimes on the decline?

Although there seem to be fewer hate crimes in the country, a 2013 report by the Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics noted that may not be the case.

In fact, two out of three hate crimes go unreported to police, The Associated Press said, for reasons that include the victim dealing with it another way, not believing police would be able to help, or a victim being afraid there would be retaliation against them. (See table below.)

The Bureau of Justice Statistics has been collecting data on crimes – both reported and not reported to police – since 2003 for its National Crime Victimization Survey.

Other advocacy groups have also noted the limitations on the FBI's uniform crime report, saying there are jurisdictional obstacles to prosecuting and reporting hate crimes.

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