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, 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 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.
  • Although not a member of the targeted group, the targeted individual 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

  • The offender made Bias-related comments, written statements, or gestures.

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 representing 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

  • The targeted individual or group visited 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.
  • The targeted individual or group had received previous harassing mail or phone calls or had experienced verbal abuse based on their affiliation with a targeted group.
  • Recent bias incidents or crimes may have sparked a retaliatory hate crime.