Figures show decrease in US anti-gay crime

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FBI figures for 2009 show that reports of anti-gay hate crimes in the US have decreased.

However, a recent study claims that gays are more likely to be victims of violent hate crime than any other minority group.

Last year, there were 1,436 crimes motivated by sexual orientation down from 1,617 in 2008.

The figure for 2009 is a higher proportion of total hate crimes compared to the previous year, although hate crime in general decreased between 2008 and 2009.

For total numbers of hate crimes, 2009 saw 6,604 crimes involving 8,336 victims. This compared to 7,783 incidents and 9,691 victims in 2008.

Most of the anti-gay crime recorded involved assaults and there was a slight rise in the number recorded in 2009.

One murder and four rapes were also recorded. There were 325 recorded incidents of intimidation.

Last year’s figures showed five murders and six rapes which were related to sexual orientation.

The figures do not specify the number of transphobic crimes.

A recent study by the Southern Poverty Law Center said that gays were more likely to be victims of violent hate crime than any other minority.

The analysis of 14 years of statistics suggested that gays and lesbians are more than twice as likely to be attacked in a violent hate crime as Jews or blacks; more than four times as likely as Muslims; and 14 times as likely as Latinos.

Last year, Congress passed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr Hate Crimes Act, which expanded federal hate crime laws to include crimes where the victims were targeted on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, gender, and disability.

However, anti-gay group Focus on the Family used the FBI figures to call for the repeal of the “speech-chilling, religious-freedom-killing” protection law.