Overall Hate Crimes Rate Unchanged Over Past 10 Years, City Police Say

Dec 18, 2018

Hate crimes have been a major part of the national conversation in recent years, including after the mass shooting at a Squirrel Hill synagogue in October. But judging from statistics reported by the Pittsburgh Police on Tuesday, there has been little change in the overall number of hate crimes committed within city limits over the last decade.

Between 2008 and 2018, the city averaged 19 incidents of ethnic and other intimidation – including eight violent incidents -- each year. “The annual counts of incidents have remained steady over this ten-year period and are nearly evenly distributed throughout the neighborhoods,” said a release from the city.

Just over three-quarters of the incidents involved racial animus, the “vast majority” of which targeted African Americans. A much smaller number of incidents involved intimidation based on other ethnic identity, religion and sexual orientation or disability.  

The numbers span a period ending Oct. 28, 2018 – one day after the mass shooting of congregants at the Tree of Life synagogue in Squirrel Hill. It was not immediately clear how the shooting, in which 11 people were shot to death in the worst act of anti-Semitic violence in U.S. history, was tabulated for purposes of compiling the statistics.  

The numbers were released in conjunction with a Tuesday meeting of the FBI Greater Pittsburgh Civil Rights Working Group. City officials urged residents to report such crimes.

"By working together, we can prevent future occurrences of bias and hate," city Police Chief Scott Schubert said in the statement.