Hate crime statistics show that punishments need to be stiffer in order to reduce future crimes. People learn by example. When a crime is labeled as a hate crime it gives it a special darkness that lies deep within the very soul of an individual. A simple warning or a sentence that seems like more of a slap on the hand than a real punishment only conveys the message that hate crimes are like any other crime and that just is not true.
Yes, hate crime statistics suggest that there should be stiffer punishments, because criminals are rarely given the max for what they have done. People are able to make excuses and they are able to obtain treatment and just promise to never do it again. But it keeps happening, so people should be punished more.
No, I believe that the statistics are underreported and that it's a bigger problem than we know. I don't think the punishments should be any stiffer though, to be honest. However, many whites are the victims of hate crimes nowadays. And that's coming from a young, black male. It's just the truth. If someone yells out "whitey!" or something during an assault--that's a hate crime.
I do not believe hate crime statistics suggest that there should be stiffer punishments. We will not be able to eliminate hate crimes via stiffer punishments, it's impossible to completely get rid of it. Statistics don't suggest anything, they're just figures and numbers based on facts. There's no guarantee that a certain action will change much of anything.