Last week, state Attorney General Ashley Moody’s office released the 2019 Report on Hate Crimes in Florida.
The report includes information on the types of hate crimes being reported throughout the state to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) under the Uniform Crime Reporting information system.
Hate crimes are senseless, criminal acts based on hatred and bias towards individuals or groups because of race, religion, sexual orientation or other personal characteristics. According to the report, 134 hate crimes were reported statewide from Jan. 1, through Dec. 31, 2019.
In 1989, the Florida Legislature passed laws designed to address the issue of hate crimes. Section 775.085, Florida Statutes, was created to increase penalties for convictions of crimes where there was evidence of certain prejudice. Additionally, the Hate Crimes Reporting Act, Section 877.19, Florida Statutes, was passed to require law enforcement agencies to report hate crimes to the FDLE and required the Attorney General’s Office to publish an annual summary of data collected by FDLE.
Moody weighed in on the findings.
“Hate has no place in our civilized society—it fuels discrimination, division and, at its worst, boils over into violence. No Floridian deserves to be targeted or attacked because of the bigotry, intolerance or hatred of another but sadly these atrocious crimes still happen today,” Moody noted.
“Hate crimes are criminal acts motivated by hatred and bias towards individuals or groups because of race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation or other personal characteristics. According to our annual Hate Crime Report, Florida’s law enforcement agencies reported 134 hate crimes statewide from January 1, 2019 through December 31, 2019. While these stats demonstrate a year-over-year decline, we cannot stop until we end these appalling crimes in our great state,” Moody continued.
“As Floridians, we must embrace our differences and celebrate our diversity. As attorney general, I want to encourage anyone who suspects that a hate crime, or any crime, has occurred to report it immediately to law enforcement. By working together to eliminate hate crimes and provide a safe environment for all Floridians, we will build a stronger, safer Florida,” Moody concluded.