The GLBT community may report higher numbers of hate crimes against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender persons than the UCR because of a number of reasons.First, crimes may only be reported within the GLBT community and victims may be more apt to turn toward their communities for support and direction because they are more likely to be understood and accepted vs the possibility of facing additional bias and discrimination from the general community.
This means they aren’t always reporting perceived hate crimes to the authorities. The UCR or uniform crime records, is based on CKP or crimes known to police, not on the unknown crimes. “An unknown amount of unreported crime occurs daily, but this “dark figure” of crime is not in the UCR. Victim surveys and self-reports can help estimate the dark figure” (p.
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15). This can be due to fear of being outed, fear of negative public attention, fear of law enforcement judging or not taking the crime to heart due to the protected class being a common target still in today’s society, and fear of increased hate crimes against them and/or retaliation. “UCR reporting is voluntary, which leads to FBI estimates whose accuracy is difficult to assess” (p. 15).
Second, the reported crimes may not meet criteria needed to be accepted as crime data recorded by the UCR. Third, the crimes if reported may not actually be considered a hate crime based on actual evidence. “Five things must occur for a criminal incident to appear in the UCR: (1) someone must perceive an event as a crime, (2) that event must come to the attention of the police, (3) the police must agree that it is a crime, (4) they must code the crime on the proper UCR form and submit it to the FBI, and (5) the FBI must include that report in the UCR. Each of these is subject to distortion” (p. 16).All of these issues listed can lead to data distortion of the UCR regarding hate crimes against members of the GLBT community.