Most of the news is not good inside the 253-page "Crime in Idaho" report, issued July 3 by the Idaho State Police Bureau of Criminal Identification. It reveals a rise in 2016 in crimes against persons, property and society; a rise in violent crimes; and a whopping 27.3 percent increase in hate crimes in Idaho compared to 2015.
According to Idaho Code 18-7902, which was adopted in 1983, it is unlawful to "intimidate or harass another person because of race, color, religion, ancestry or national origin." Offenses can be punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine for each occurrence. Law enforcement officers recognize and report hate crime offenses based on "bias-related drawings, markings, symbols or graffiti left at the crime scene," according to ISP, or "bias-related oral comments, written statements or gestures made by the offender." Hate crimes can also be triggered by an "incident coinciding with a holiday relating to, or a date of particular significance to, a race, religion, disability, ethnicity or sexual-orientation."
According to the statistics, 46 percent of reported hate crimes in 2016 involved destruction of property, followed by simple assault (17 percent), intimidation (17 percent) and aggravated assault (14 percent). Hate crimes targeting black people were 25 percent of the total, with 4 percent targeting Hispanics or Latinos; 18 percent were anti-gay or anti-LGBT; 7 percent targeted members of the Islamic faith; four percent targeted Protestants; and 50 percent of the hate crime victims were female.
The highest number of hate crimes in Idaho during 2016, nearly 18 percent, were reported by the Coeur d'Alene Police Department, followed by the Boise Police Department (11 percent), the Canyon County Sheriff's Office (11 percent) and the City of Pocatello Police Department (11 percent). June was the worst month, when 21 percent of all incidents were reported.