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Mr. Burton said he was not entirely surprised by the fact that 13 of the 18 racially motivated hate crime suspects were black.

“Regardless of what the category of crime is, the vast majority of the people committing those crimes will be black. It’s just a demographic issue,” Mr. Burton said.

The hate crimes recorded by police most often turned out to be assaults. Police said of the 70 hate crimes last year, 31 were simple assaults and 12 were more serious attacks. Other crimes included 12 instances in which a person made threats, eight incidents of destruction of property and seven robberies.

Under D.C. law, if a person is found guilty of a hate crime, the court may fine the offender up to 1 times the maximum fine and imprison him or her for up to 1 times the maximum term authorized for the underlying crime.

The hate crime figures have fluctuated in recent years, with more overall hate crimes (90 incidents) and more race-based crimes (28 incidents) reported in 2011, for example.

Arthur Spitzer, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of the Nation’s Capital, cautioned about the difficulty of drawing conclusions from small sample sizes.

“With numbers as small as these, I think it’s hard to tell what significance they might have,” Mr. Spitzer said.

But Mr. Spitzer questioned the degree to which some groups might be more likely to report hate crimes.

For at least five years, the hate crimes most frequently reported to police targeted victims based on sexual orientation. And although gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender advocacy groups have in recent years criticized Chief Cathy L. Lanier’s restructuring of a specialized liaison unit that worked with the community, Mr. Friedman said long-standing relationships may have bolstered reporting from that sector.

Citing his own work as chairman of a task force that examined police response to hate crimes targeting people based on sexual orientation, Mr. Friedman said that community organization by LGBT groups that provide aid to victims has likely increased the frequency with which victims report hate crimes.

“When people report, it tends to be an issue of trust of police,” he said.

Mr. Burton said D.C. police earned a great reputation nationally for the work it did with the LGBT community and noted the overall diversity of the agency, which has other liaison units that work specifically with other minority groups.

“Generally, I believe our police department is sensitive to these issues and is progressive in handling it,” Mr. Burton said.