Idaho News
7:00 am
Tue August 5, 2014

Map Shows Boise County Has Highest Hate Crime Rate In The Nation, But It’s Wrong

A map from mic.com shows the places in the U.S. with the highest numbers of reported hate crimes. It names Boise County, Idaho as having the highest number of hate crimes per capita, by a very wide margin. But it’s wrong.

Mic.com's map of all hate crimes in the U.S. in 2012. Subsequent maps in the same article show Boise County has the highest rate of hate crimes against Hispanics and members of the LGBT community and the second highest rate of hate crimes against black people. But according to the FBI no hate crimes were reported in Boise County that year.
Credit mic.com screen grab

When I first saw the post, I assumed an unusually high number of hate crimes combined with Boise County’s tiny population had skewed the 2012 results.

I went to the data source, the FBI’s Uniform Crime Statistics, to confirm my hypothesis. What I saw didn't jive with the post. The FBI confirmed that there were no hate crimes reported in Boise County in 2012. Zero.

Here’s what I think happened: the writer confused the city of Boise and Boise County. The city is not in the county which shares its name.

Eighteen hate crimes were reported in 2012 in Boise. That’s only about nine per 100,000 people. But if you take those 18 hate crimes and apply them to Boise County’s approximately 7,000 residents, the rate of hate crimes is much higher. Still, it’s not the same number as the 263.4 hate crimes per 100,000 people the mic.com post assigns Boise County. So it's not clear where the mistake happened.

I reached out to the article’s author Chris Walker on Twitter but haven’t yet heard from him. Mic.com is an online news organization for and by Millennials. 

Editor's note: Since this story was posted Aug. 5, mic.com has corrected its original story. An Aug. 12 correction reads: "An earlier version of this article stated that the 2012 hate crime rate in Boise County, Idaho was 263.4, the highest in the country. In fact, the hate crime rate in Boise County, Idaho was 0 in 2012."

Find Reporter Adam Cotterell on Twitter @cotterelladam | Copyright 2014 Boise State Public Radio