Florida Attorney General, Pam Bondi, released her office’s Annual Report on Hate Crimes to Historic City News, indicating that St Johns County is among 31 of Florida’s 67 counties to report the occurrence of crimes committed as an expression of hatred toward the victim based on his or her personal characteristics.
According to records provided by the St Johns County Sheriff ’s Office, during the reporting period, a total of five cases were investigated as hate crimes; three cases of aggravated assault based on ethnicity, and two cases of intimidation based on race.
“As you review the report, please remember that every number in it represents an actual individual who was a victim of a hate crime in 2011,” Bondi told reporters. “By working together, I hope we will one day see an end to the commission of hate crimes in Florida.”
To be characterized as a “hate crime” for the purpose of statistical evaluation, the perpetrator must have intentionally selected the victim based on one of the following characteristics:
- national origin
- sexual orientation
- advanced age
- mental or physical disability
There were 139 hate crimes reported by 58 law enforcement agencies to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement between January 1 and December 31, 2011.
The number of hate crimes reported in Florida in 2011 dropped — but the number of physical assaults increased, according to the report.
There were 72 incidents involving the assault of an individual in 2011, a jump of 24 percent from 2010. It was the first time in seven years when a majority of hate crimes involved a physical assault instead of destruction of property.
Orange County reported 26 offenses, the largest number of hate crimes in the state, followed by Alachua County with 15 offenses and Miami-Dade County with 12 offenses reported. Race was reported to be the motivating factor in 43 percent of the cases; followed by religion and sexual orientation representing 20 percent each.
The annual report provides end-of-year statistics for criminal offenses in Florida that involve hate crimes; as reported by Florida’s law enforcement agencies.