Thus, of the 7,947 total incidents and 9,895 total offenses reported in 1995, there were 7,144 crimes against persons.These crimes included 4,048 acts of intimidation, 1,796 simple assaults, 1,268 aggravated assaults, 20 murders and 12 forcible rapes.

While more than 25,000 hate crimes reported in four years are alarming enough, the FBI statistics paint only a partial portrait of the problem.

In 1994, for instance, the total number of law enforcement agencies that reported hate crimes to the FBI covered only 58% of the population of the United States.

In this statute, hate crimes are those in which "the defendant intentionally selects a victim, or in the case of a property crime, the property that is the object of the crime, because of the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, gender, disability, or sexual orientation of any person." In 1993, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of Wisconsin's hate crime statute, which enhances the sentence of crimes in which the perpetrator "intentionally selects" the victim "because of" his or her characteristics, Wisconsin v. In comparison to other crimes, targets of hate violence are singled out because of their membership in a social group.

Perpetrators are more likely to be marauding groups of predators looking for targets for their hatred.

However, it is one thing to be victimized for walking down a deserted street or wearing an expensive wristwatch; but it is perhaps more painful to be victimized simply for who you are.

The cruelty of these crimes is magnified because they remind the victims of terrible things that had been done in the past to members of their group, or to them, their families, or their friends-pogroms against Jews, lynchings of blacks, rapes and beatings of women, lesbians and gay men, or grim memories in the minds of other groups.Sixty percent of the incidents were motivated by racial bias, 16 percent by religious bias, 13 percent by sexual-orientation bias, and 10 percent by bias against the victims" ethnicity or national origin.All in all, there were 10,469 victims and 8,433 known offenders, not including offenses against women as a class.The federal government's definition of hate crimes-and its annual reports on total reported incidents-paint only a partial portrait of the problem.The Hate Crime Statistics Act defines hate crimes as acts in which individuals are victimized because of their "race, religion, sexual orientation, or ethnicity." This definition fails to convey a deeper sense of the severity of hate crimes or their impact on individual victims, their families and communities, and our country.As one young "gaybasher" explained: "We were trying to be tough to each other.