A hate crime is a crime which is committed because of the victim’s race, color, religion, national origin, age, disability, or sexual orientation.
Hate crimes can include:
- Verbal Intimidation or Threats
- Hate Mail (including email)
- Property Damage
- Trespassing and Stalking
- Physical assaults and threats
- Attacks with weapons
Hate crimes and incidents can take place anywhere: in your home, in the street, in your workplace, in school, via social media, by e-mail, text, or telephone.
In our society, we sometimes encounter hateful words and behavior in the form of racial or ethnic slurs, religious insults, or anti-gay political rallies or spoken anger during a confrontation on the street. But such slurs, insults, or hateful statements alone are not hate crimes.
Free speech is protected by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, even when it may contain hateful or inflammatory ideas. So while it may hurt and frighten people and communities, it is not a crime to speak or write words that advocate hate and bigotry. However, speech that includes a credible threat of violence against an individual or group is a crime.
Not all expressions of hate or group bias rise to the level of hate crime as defined in state and federal statutes. Derogatory words or epithets directed against a member of a previously defined group because they are a member of such group, if not accompanied by a threat of harm with the ability to carry it out, are considered protected speech and not a hate crime. They do, however, constitute a hate-related incident.
• Call the Police (9-1-1 in an emergency or UCPD Dispatch in a non-emergency at (310) 825-1491). Give the responding officer complete information to ensure the incident is documented as bias-related.
• If anyone was with you or saw what happened, record their names and phone numbers as well. Ask them to write an account of what they witnessed and sign and date this document.
• Record names or detailed descriptions of the perpetrators.
• Save all hate mail or other documentation for evidentiary purposes.
• Keep a careful log of hate calls and save all voicemails or text messages.
• Photograph physical injuries, offensive graffiti, and evidence of vandalism.
Anonymous reporting is an option on this website.
Unlike other crimes that target individuals, bias-related acts have a tremendous effect of an entire community. When one person is targeted because of their race, religion, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, or other characteristic, others in the community who were not the direct targets of the hate crime may also feel at risk. Tensions between different communities can also arise as a result of a hate crime.
Being a victim or witness of a hate crime can be emotionally shattering and physically damaging, and may leave you feeling isolated. Your priority should be taking care of yourself.
1. Make sure you are in a physically safe place.
2. Seek medical attention immediately when necessary.
3. Find someone you can talk to about the experience, such as a friend, counselor, professor, or the police.