What is a hate crime?

A crime motivated in whole or in part by bias, prejudice, or bigotry due to race, religion, national origin, disability, or gender.

Why is it important to label these crimes "hate crimes"?

Hate crime laws provide increased penalties for crimes purposely directed at individuals or organizations because of personal characteristics. This is important because hate crimes also severely impact communities – not just individuals.

What is the community impact of a hate crime?

The impact of a hate crime exceeds the impact on the victims(s). The entire community can be left feeling vulnerable, fearful, victimized, and unprotected after a hate crime is committed.

What are the two requirements to demonstrate a hate crime?

Firstly, there must be an underlying crime (assault, arson, threats, vandalism, or murder, for example). Secondly, the crime must have been committed because of race, religion, national origin, disability, or gender.

Responding to Hate Crimes

Step 1

Report the crime to law enforcement

Step 2

If the victim is reluctant to go to the police, reach out to a civil rights organization, such as the ANTI-DEFAMATION league or the BPJCC.

Step 3

If you hear someone talk about a hate crime OCCURRING to them, encourage them to report the incident to the police.

Step 4

If the person is still reluctant, Offer your help with making the report.

Step 5

as a last resort, you can report the hate crime to law enforcement or a civil rights organization.

What is a hate incident?

A non-threatening, bigoted, biased, or prejudiced comment made to another individual based on race, religion, national origin, disability, gender. It can also involve a non-threatening, bigoted, biased, or prejudiced message or image in specific contexts.

What are some examples of hate incidents?

  • A neighbor displaying a Nazi swastika on their property.
  • An offensive anti-religious comment made to a passerby that is visibly religious.
  • A derogatory Twitter post about women.
  • A non-threatening, offensive email about disabilities sent to another person.

How is a hate incident different than a hate crime?

A hate incident does not violate criminal or civil law. On the other hand, hate crimes have additional penalties by the U.S. government, 45 states, and the District of Columbia.

Why do hate incidents not violate criminal or civil law?

The First Amendment of free speech protects those who commit hate incidents.

When can hate incidents be punished under state laws?

If an individual directs many bigoted, biased, or prejudiced statements to the same person, it could be classified as unlawful criminal harassment or stalking under specific state laws.

Responding to hate Incidents

Step 1

While a hate incident occurs, the victim should not engage or speak with the perpetrator.

Step 2

If possible, the victim should remove themselves from the situation and move to a more visible location with other people around.

Step 3

Immediately report the hate crime incident to law enforcement. This report will not be criminal in nature, but it still has value to law enforcement, such as providing evidence if the perpetrator goes on to commit a hate crime.

Step 4

If you witness online hate incidents, also known as “cyberhate”, these are not unlawful. However, many social media platforms have policies prohibiting such hate incidents. Many platforms allow users to file online complaints to remove hateful speech or images.

Step 5

For additional help, you can contact a civil rights organization such as the Anti-Defamation League or the BPJCC for victim support or assistance. Help can be provided to assist a victim with informally addressing these incidents. It is also good to report such incidents to identify trends and changes in hate activity.

Report a Hate Crime / Incident

Use the form below.