Activists: Hate Crimes Law Underused

That law, approved in 2000, allows harsher punishment for anyone who commits a crime out of hostility toward a particular race, national origin, gender, religion, sexual orientation, age or disability. The law required an annual survey, the first of which covers 2001 but was only completed by Gov. George Pataki's administration last month. Out of 975 hate crimes complaints police received, 262 alleged anti-Semitism, the report said. Another 355 charged racial bias, including 155 against blacks, 48 against Hispanics and 39 against whites. The report said 143 incidents involved the victim's ethnicity or national origin, and 112 concerned sexual orientation. The study said that 81 complaints involved a religion other than Judaism. The 2001 complaints were a quarter more than filed the previous year, but advocates said they feared that either many victims were not lodging complaints with the police, law enforcement officials were not properly investigating them as bias crimes, or that the state's data was incomplete. Richard Haymes, executive director of the New York City Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project, said his group received 379 complaints of potentially criminal bias against homosexuals in 2001, more than three times the statewide number who went to police according to the report.