Indicators To Help Identify Hate Crimes
The following criteria may be used to help determine if the act was motivated by bias or hate.
- Is the victim a member of a target racial, religious, ethic/national origin, or sexual orientation group?
- Were the offender and the victim of different racial, religious, ethnic/national origin, or sexual orientation groups?
- Would the incident have taken place if the victim and offender were of the same race, religion, ethnic group, or sexual orientation?
- Were bias-related drawings, markings, symbols, and/or graffiti left at the crime scene?
- Were certain objects, items, or things which indicate bias used or left behind by the offender(s)?
- Is the victim a member of a racial, religious, ethnic/national origin, or sexual orientation group which is overwhelmingly outnumbered by members of another group in the neighborhood where the victim lives and the incident took place? (This factor loses significance with the passage of time, i.e., it is most significant when the victim first moved into the neighborhood and becomes less significant as time passes without incident.)
- Was the victim visiting a neighborhood where previous hate crimes had been committed against other members of his/her racial, religious, ethnic/national origin, or sexual orientation group and where tensions remain high against his/her group?
- Have several incidents occurred in the same locality, at or about the same time, and are the victims all of the same racial, religious, ethnic/national origin, or sexual orientation group?
- Does a substantial portion of the community where the crime occurred perceive that incident was motivated by bias?
- Was the victim engaged in activities promoting his/her racial, religious, ethnic/national origin, or sexual orientation group?
- Is there another clear motivation for the incident?
- Were any racial, religious, ethnic, or sexual orientation bias remarks made by the offender?
- Were there any offensive symbols, words or acts which are known to represent a hate group or other group or other evidence of bias against the victim's group?
- Did the incident occur on a holiday or other day of significance to the victim's group or the offender's group?
- What do the demographics of the area tell you about the incident?
It may be helpful to obtain or recommend the assistance of an individual whom the victim trusts, such as a friend, neighbor, clergy member, or representative from a community-based organization or the victim's advocate group.