The FBI's annual Hate Crime Statistics report released today reported that 66.6% of victims of ethnically motivated hate crimes in 2010 were "targeted because of an anti-Hispanic bias" -- the highest percentage of such victims in at least the past decade. The remaining 33.4% of victims were targeted because of all other ethnic or nationality biases combined.
Although ethnically motivated hate crimes have fallen in general from their peak in 2007, the percentage of such crimes committed against Latinos in 2010 has risen, according to the new report. In total there were 747 victims of "anti-Hispanic" ethnically motivated incidents. In 2003, in contrast, 44.9% of crimes based on ethnic bias or country of origin were committed against Latinos, with 595 victims. Racial groups, including African-Americans, are not included in ethnic/nationality group categorization in the FBI's report.
Overall, the FBI concluded that hate crimes across the country "remain steady" with previous years' findings. Researchers also warn that while interpreting such data, one must take into account population density and crime reporting tendencies.
In the past decade, the Latino population has grown substantially in almost every state in the nation, increasing their numbers in 2,962 of America's 3,142 counties. It should also be noted, that anti-Latino hate crimes are not isolated to those committed by non-Latinos. Crimes between Latino ethnic groups would also be included in FBI findings.
Although preliminary findings of a National Institute of Justice study also suggest that anti-Latino hate crimes rose disproportionally to other hate crimes between 2004 and 2008, some believe that such crimes remain underreported.
Mark Potok, a spokesperson for the Southern Poverty Law Center, said in prior an interview with The Huffington Post that, "one thing to understand is that Latinos, and in particular undocumented immigrants, are among the least likely to report hate crimes because they fear deportation."
WATCH: Ethnically-motivated murder of Juan Varela in Arizona in 2010.
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