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Story highlights

An average of 250,000 hate crime incidents took place per year between 2004-2015

About a third of victims between 2011 and 2015 said they were targeted because of their ethnicity or gender

(CNN) —  

A majority of hate crime incidents are not reported to police, according to the results of a new Department of Justice hate crime report released Thursday.

The report, which included data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ National Crime Victimization Survey, also found that between 2004 to 2015, there was an average of 250,000 hate crime incidents each year.

Between 2011 and 2015, 54% of violent hate crimes went unreported, the report found. Most commonly, or 44% of the time, they were handled another way, such as through a non-law enforcement official. During that same period, 90% of hate crimes included some form of violent crime, with the majority including simple assault. In comparison, the report said just 25% of non-hate crimes involved some form of violent crime.

The report defined hate crimes as “those that manifest evidence of prejudice based on rage, gender or gender identity, religion, disability, sexual orientation or ethnicity.”

Around a third of victims between 2011 and 2015 said they were targeted because of their ethnicity, and 29% cited their gender.

Forty-eight percent of hate crimes during that same period were motivated by racial bias, a decrease from 62% in the five-year period between 2003 and 2007.

The DOJ report also found that rates were highest in urban areas and most commonly in the West. Additionally, males and females experienced similar rates of hate crime victimization. Almost half – 46% – of hate crimes were committed by a stranger.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions assembled the Hate Crimes Subcommittee in early April following a February executive order signed by President Donald Trump directing Sessions to establish a Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety. The subcommittee is aimed at developing “a plan to appropriate address hate crimes to better protect the rights of all Americans,” according to a letter Sessions sent to US attorney’s offices around the country in April.

The subcommittee held a one-day summit Thursday to address hate crimes and how to reduce them. Speaking at the summit, Sessions reaffirmed the department’s commitment to “reducing violent crime and making America safe,” calling fighting hate crime a “top priority.”

“Hate crimes are violent crimes. No person should have to fear being violently attacked because of who they are, what they believe, or how they worship,” Sessions said.

The Senate also unanimously passed a bipartisan resolution condemning racial, religious and ethnic hate crimes last April.