Hate Crime & Bias-Motivated Incident Indicators

It may be challenging to delineate between offensive speech/acts and hate/bias incidents.  The following are common indicators of a possible hate crime or bias-motivated incident provided by the National Center for Hate Crime Prevention’s Responding to Hate Crime.

A. Racial, Ethnic, Gender and/or Cultural Differences

  • The race, religion, ethnicity/national origin, disability status, gender identity and expression, or sexual orientation of the targeted individual differs from that of the offender.
  • The targeted individual or group is a member of a perceived group that is overwhelmingly outnumbered by members of another group in the area where the incident occurred.
  • The incident coincided with a holiday or date of particular significance to the targeted individual’s perceived group.
  • The targeted individual, although not a member of the targeted group, is a member of an advocacy group that supports the targeted group or the targeted individual was in the company of a member of the targeted group.
  • Historically, animosity exists between the targeted individual's perceived group and the offender's perceived group.

B. Comments, written statements, or gestures

  • Bias-related comments, written statements, or gestures were made by the offender.

C. Drawings, markings, symbols, or graffiti

  • Bias-related drawings, markings, symbols or graffiti are left at the scene of the incident.

D. Organized Hate Groups

  • Objects or items that represent the work of organized hate groups (e.g. white hoods, burning crosses and hate graffiti) were left at the scene of the incident.
  • There are indications that a hate group was involved; for example, an organized hate group claimed responsibility for the crime or was active in the neighborhood.

E. Previous Bias Crimes or Incidents

  • Targeted individual or group was visiting a location where previous bias crimes had been committed against members of the targeted individual’s group.
  • Several incidents occurred in the same area and the targeted individuals were members of the same group.
  • Targeted individual or group had received previous harassing mail or phone calls or had experienced verbal abuse based on his or her affiliation with a targeted group.
  • Recent bias incidents or crimes may have sparked a retaliatory hate crime.