In the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)'s report on crimes within the U.S., the number of hate crimes has reportedly dropped.
The FBI found that rates for hate crimes fell by at least 8 percent last 2014, though the number is still by the thousands. More than 5,400 hate crimes have been reported this 2014, compared to 2013's nearly 7,000.
Among the crimes recorded, most of them (47 percent) were motivated by racial prejudice, followed by religious and sexual orientation motivated (both at 18.6 percent), ethnicity (1.8 percent), gender identity (1.8 percent), disability (1.5 percent) and lastly, gender (0.6 percent).
But while this may be taken as the law enforcement having some success in combating these crimes, critics point out that this is far from a complete picture of the true hate crime rates in the country.
Some say that not all hate crimes are being reported to authorities or being wrongly categorized as crimes based on sexual orientation or gender.
"Current statistics only provide a partial snapshot of hate crimes in America because reporting these incidents to the FBI is not mandatory," Stephen Peters wrote for the Human Rights Campaign blog. He added that thousands of law enforcement agencies did not submit data.
Still, the decline on hate crimes can also be taken as proof that both law enforcement and efforts to promote understanding and tolerance among communities and social groups in the country have been successful.
"[T]he enemy is not the individuals, the enemy is ignorance," said Farris Barakat, a victim of an attack last year that robbed him of his brother, sister and wife last year. "We should just take a moment to celebrate the good and appreciate those who stand up to say, 'This shouldn't be how we live.' "
To improve hate crime reporting accuracy, Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR)'s representatives participated in hate crime training sessions held by both the FBI and the Department of Justices. UCR also worked with states to facilitate proper submission of crime data and helped provide training and discussed crime reporting issues.
The 2015 data on hate crimes will be released on 2016's report, which will contain more information like expanded bias types for religion hate crime category and an added anti-Arab bias type under ethnicity. Data collection for the 2015 hate crime rates began last January 2015.