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National Criminal Justice Service
August, 2003

Hate Crime: A Summary

Hate crime is defined as "the violence of intolerance and bigotry, intended to hurt and intimidate someone because of their race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, or disability." (Community Relations Service, 2001)

These crimes have been plaguing our country for centuries, tearing at the very foundation of our country and destroying our neighborhoods and communities.

"A total of 11,987 law enforcement agencies in 49 states and the District of Columbia reported 9,730 bias-motivated incidents - 9,271 single bias and 9 multiple bias" (Hate Crime Statistics, 2001)

Since an individual's biases are incidental circumstances to a particular crime, collecting statistics and information on hate crimes is difficult. Over the past 12 years, Congress has passed many pieces of legislation to help shape the future of hate crime initiatives and preventative measures. These anti-hate crime legislated acts include the

  • Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 1999
  • Church Arson Prevention Act of 1996
  • Hate Crimes Sentencing Enhancement Act
  • Hate Crime Statistics Act of 1990

Hate crime activities are being investigated at the Federal level by the FBI’s Bias Crimes Unit and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF) church arson and explosives experts. BATF investigations also focus on regulating the illegal sale and possessions of firearms to potential perpetrators of hate crimes. Programs are also being developed to bring communities together to fight hate crimes through mediation, dialogue and discussion, and innovative strategies to introduce and educate youth on attitudes and behavior.

In order to understand the scope of the hate crime problem, the Justice Department was mandated, with the passage of the Hate Crime Statistics Act of 1990, to collect statistics and gather information on the prevalence of these bias-motivated crimes:

  • The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program (UCR) is the only national data collection program. As part of the UCR Program, the FBI publishes hate crime statistics in their annual publication, Hate Crime Statistics, 2001.
  • As part of the Attorney General’s Hate Crime initiative, the Bureau of Justice Statistics has examined ways to improve participation by law enforcement agencies in collecting and reporting hate crime statistics to the FBI and to profile local responses to hate crime. The findings will assist the Federal government in identifying the accuracy of hate crime statistics and reporting practices, produce trend data and developing a model for hate crime reporting.
  • In addition to collecting statistics, several agencies are funding researchers to conduct studies on hate crimes.

The Office for Victims of Crime (OVC), the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) all sponsor and fund grantee agencies to develop programs, and to provide training seminars and technical assistance to individuals and local agencies regarding hate crimes.

  • OVC is working to improve the justice system’s response to victims of hate crime
  • OJJDP funds agencies to develop training for professionals and to address hate crimes through preventative measures and community resources
  • BJA has a training initiative for law enforcement agencies to generate awareness and to help in identifying, investigating, and taking appropriate action for bias crimes, as well as arming agencies with tools for responding effectively to incidents.

The latest in hate crime statistics and facts.

  • Of the 9,721 single-bias incidents, 44.9 percent were motivated by racial prejudice, 21.6 percent were driven by a bias toward an ethnicity/national origin, 18.8 percent motivated by religious intolerance, 14.3 percent by sexual-orientation bias, and 0.4 percent by disability bias. (Hate Crime Statistics, 2001).
  • "During 2001, 4,367 of the single-bias incidents were victims of racial bias, 1,828 were victims of religious bias, 1,393 were victims of sexual-orientation bias, 2,098 were victims of ethnic or national origin bias, and 35 were victims of disability bias."
    (Hate Crime Statistics, 2001).
  • Criminal incidents can involve more than one offense, victim, and/or offender. In 2001, there were 9,730 bias-motivated incidents, 12,020 victims, and 9,239 known offenders. A breakdown of the 12,020 victims shows that 64.6 percent were crimes against persons and 34.7 percent were victims of crime against property.
    (Hate Crime Statistics, 2001).
  • "In 2001, law enforcement agencies reported a total of 9,239 known offenders associated with 9,730 bias-motivated incidents (9 incidents were multiple-bias). Of these known offenders, 65.5 percent were white, 20.4 percent were black, 0.9 percent were Asian/Pacific Islander, and 0.6 percent were American Indian/Alaskan Native." (Hate Crime Statistics, 2001).
  • "Residences and homes were the scenes of 30.9 percent of the total 9,730 hate crime incidents in 2001. Incidents perpetrated on highways, roads, alleys, or streets accounted for 18.3 percent of hate crime incidents, and 10.1 percent occurred at schools or colleges." (Hate Crime Statistics, 2001).
  • According to the most recent survey, of 2,117 prosecutor offices, 20.2% prosecuted felony hate crime cases. (Prosecutors in State Courts, 2001).
  • Twenty-three percent of college campuses with 2,500 enrolled students had a special hate crime program or unit operated by campus law enforcement agencies.
    (Campus Law Enforcement Agencies, 1995).
  • From 1997 - 1999, sixty-one percent of hate crime incidents were motivated by race, 14 percent by religion, 13 percent by sexual orientation, 11 percent by ethnicity, and 1 percent by victim disability. The majority of incidents motivated by race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or disability involved a violent offense, while two-thirds of incidents motivated by religion involved a property offense, most commonly vandalism.
    ( Hate Crime Reported in NIBRS, 1997-99).
  • From 1997 - 1999, younger offenders were responsible for most hate crimes. Thirty-one percent of violent offenders and 46 percent of property offenders were under age 18. ( Hate Crime Reported in NIBRS, 1997-99).
  • Among the reports analyzed, five States reported incident-based statistics in the form of hate-bias crimes in their annual reports. These incidents were usually classified by motivation for hate-bias which includes race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, and disability (State Use of Incident-Based Crime Statistics).

Lists full text publications available online.

2003 National Crime Victims' Rights Week Resource Guide
Office for Victims of Crime, 2003

Hate Crime and Hate Incidents in the Commonwealth of Kentucky
Kentucky Criminal Justice Council, 2002

Hate Crime Statistics, 2001
Federal Bureau of Investigation, 2002

Indicators or School Crime and Safety, 2002
Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2002

National Victim Assistance Academy: Hate and Bias Crime
Office for Victims of Crime, 2002

Safety and Security Information Report for 2002
University of Maine, 2002

"WE ARE NOT THE ENEMY" Hate Crimes Against Arabs, Muslims, and Those Perceived to be Arab or Muslim after September 11
Human Rights Watch, 2002

Gender Dimensions of Racial Discrimination
United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, 2001

Hate Crimes on Campus: The Problem and Efforts to Confront It
Bureau of Justice Assistance, 2001
PDF File and ASCII Text File

Hate Crime: The Violence of Intolerance
Community Relations Service, 2001

Hate Crimes Reported in NIBRS, 1997-99
Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2001

Home Office Research Study 223 - Crime, Policing and Justice: the Experience of Ethnic Minorities Findings from the 2000 British Crime Survey
Home Office Research, Development and Statistics Directorate, 2001

Reporting Hate Crimes
Attorney General's Civil Rights Commission on Hate Crimes, 2001

Hate Crime in California
California Department of Justice, 2001

Does Race Influence Police Disciplinary Processes?
Justice Research and Policy, 2001

Searching for the Denominator: Problems With Police Traffic Stop Data And an Early Warning System Solution
Justice Research and Policy, 2001

Implementing Controversial Policy: Results from a National Survey of Law Enforcement Department Activity on Hate Crime
Justice Research and Policy, 2001

Hate Crime Reporting: Understanding Police Officer Perceptions, Departmental Protocol, and the Role of the Victim
Justice Research and Policy, 2001

Opening the Door to Diversity
National Middle School Association, 2001

Hate on Display: A Visual Database of Extremist Symbols, Logos, and Tattoos
Anti-Defamation League, 2000

Improving the Quality and Accuracy of Bias Crime Statistics Nationally: An Assessment of the First Ten Years of Bias Crime Data Collection
The Center for Criminal Justice Policy Research and Justice Research and Statistics Association, 2000

Implementing Controversial Policy: Results from a National Survey of Law Enforcement Department Activity on Hate Crime
Justice Research and Policy, 2001

Responding to Hate Crime: A Multidisciplinary Curriculum for Law Enforcement and Victim Assistance Professionals
National Center for Hate Crime Prevention Education Development Center, Inc., 2000

Responding to Hate Crime: A Police Officer's Guide to Investigation and Prevention
International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), 2000

Resource Guide on Racial Profiling Data Collection Systems: Promising
Practices and Lessons Learned

U.S. Department of Justice, 11/00
PDF File and ASCII Text File

Improving the Quality and Accuracy of Bias Crime Statistics Nationally
Hate Crimes Research Network, 9/00

Local Prosecutor's Guide for Responding to Hate Crimes
The American Prosecutors Research Institute (APRI), 8/00

Promising Practices Against Hate Crimes: Five State and Local Demonstration Projects
Bureau of Justice Assistance, 5/00
PDF File and ASCII Text File

Addressing Hate Crimes: Six Initiatives That Are Enhancing the Efforts of Criminal Justice Practitioners
Bureau of Justice Assistance, 2/00
PDF File and ASCII Text File

101 Ways to Combat Prejudice
Anti-Defamation League, 1999

Hate Crime Training: Core Curriculum for Patrol Officers, Detectives, and Command Officers
U.S. Department of Justice, 1998

Hate Crimes Laws
Anti-Defamation League, 1999

A Policymaker's Guide to Hate Crimes Bureau of Justice Assistance, 11/99
PDF File and ASCII Text File

1999 Annual Report on School Safety
Department of Justice and Department of Education, 11/99

Hate Crime Data Collection Guidelines: Uniform Crime Reporting
Federal Bureau of Investigations, 10/99

Law Enforcement Management and Administrative Statistics, 1997: Data for Individual State and Local Agencies With 100 or More Officers
Bureau of Justice Statistics, 1999

State Use of Incident-Based Crime Statistics
Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2/99
PDF File and ASCII Text File and HTML File

Close the Book on Hate: Responding to Hate Motivated Behaviors in Schools
Anti-Defamation League, 1999

Responding to Hate Crimes and Bias-Motivated Incidents on College/University Campuses (May 2000)
Community Relations Service, 5/2000
PDF File and HTML File

Responding to Hate at School: A Guide for Teachers, Counselors and Administrators
Southern Poverty Law Center, 1999

Ten Ways to Fight Hate: A Community Response Guide
Southern Poverty Law Center, 1999

OJJDP Annual Report (1996-1997)
Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, 8/98
PDF File and HTML File

One America in the 21st Century: The President's Initiative on Race
Community Relations Service, 3/98
PDF File and ASCII Text File

Psychologists Call for Assault on Hate Crimes
American Psychological Association, 1/98

Hate Crime in America Summit Recommendations
International Association of Chiefs of Police, 1998

Hate Crimes Today: An Age-Old Foe In Modern Dress
American Psychological Association, 1998

Preventing Youth Hate Crime: A Manual for Schools and Communities
Department of Education, 1998
PDF File and HTML File

Healing the Hate: A National Hate Crime Prevention Curriculum for Middle Schools
Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, 1/97

Stopping Hate Crime: A Case History From the Sacramento Police Department
Bureau of Justice Assistance, 1/97

Campus Law Enforcement Agencies, 1995
Bureau of Justice Statistics, 12/96
PDF File and ASCII Text File and HTML File

Prosecutors in State Courts, 1994
Bureau of Justice Statistics, 10/96
PDF File and ASCII Text File and HTML File

Hate Crime's Legislation
National Center for Victims of Crime, 1996

Violence Against Gays and Lesbians
National Center for Victims of Crime, 1996

Hate Crime
Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, 8/95

National Bias Crimes Training for Law Enforcement and Victim Assistance Professionals
(Full text not available, only overview of publishing and ordering information provided)
Office for Victims of Crime, 1/95

This document is not necessarily endorsed by the Almanac of Policy Issues. It is being preserved  in the Policy Archive for historic reasons.

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