What does hate crime truly mean? Where does it originate? Why are there incidents reported about this issue?
Hate crime is defined as when someone commits a crime against you for the reason because of your disability, gender identity, race, sexual orientation, religion, or any other perceived differences.
It is rooted when someone or a person forms a negative opinion, stereotypical assumptions, intolerance or hatred directed to a particular group that shares a common characteristic, such as ethnicity, religion,race, language nationality, sexual orientation, gender or any other fundamental characteristic.
The hate crimes don’t always include any physical violence. It can be seen and be identified if someone is using offensive or obnoxious language towards you or harassing you because of who you are and where you come from, or how they think of who you are, is also considered as a crime. It is the same as someone is posting abusive or offensive messages about you online.
Moreover, crimes motivated or also known as hate crimes or bias-motivated crimes, does not only affect the security of an individual but also the communities of the victims and societies as a whole.
Recently, hate crimes are the highest priority of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s civil rights program because of the devastating impact it has brought to families and communities. The Bureau is continuously investigating hundreds of reported cases every year, and working in order to detect and prevent such incidents through law enforcement training, public outreach, and partnerships with community groups.
The list below are some reports of the hate crime incidents.
- Vandalism is down, but assaults are up.
In the year 2018, the Bureau tallied that there are 4,571 attacks against the people including the aggravated assaults which were up in 4 percent, simple assaults up in 15 percent and intimidation up in 13 percent.
Despite the national decline in violent crimes in general these trends still happened, and coincided with a drop of 19 percent in bias-driven property crimes.
Brian Levin, the director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino have said that
The data is pointing towards a change from young people committing vandalism and other property crimes toward more deliberate attacks on people.
Moreover, he added that we’re seeing a shift from the more casual offender with more shallow prejudices to a bit more of an older assailant who acts alone.
- As immigration heats up, Latinos face more violence.
According to the National Surveys, immigration has replaced terrorism as a top concern in the United States. The shift appears and has to be reflected in the hate-crime data in which it shows that there are fewer attacks against Muslims and Arab-Americans in recent years, but more against Latinos.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has reported that there are 485 hate crimes against Latinos in 2018, that it increased from 430 in 2017. It has also said that 270 crimes were reported against Muslims and Arab-Americans, the fewest since 2014.
However, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a civil rights group with chapters across the country has said that it had recorded a number of 1,664 hate crimes against Muslims in 2018.
- Hate crimes have increased in America’s largest cities.
Despite the fact that the nationwide data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation for the year 2019 won’t be available until next November, the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism examined hate-crime reports this year in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. They found out that all the three cities, plus the nation’s capital has appeared to be headed for decade highs.
The center has said that the reported hate crimes against Asian-Americans, African-Americans and Muslims are declining in New York, but the reports of anti-Semitic hate crimes are driving the overall total up.
Out of the 364 hate crimes reported in New York through Nov. 3, the center said, 148 targeted are the Jewish people. There were 295 hate crimes reported in the city over the comparable period in 2018.
In Los Angeles, there were 249 hate crimes reported in the first nine months of 2019, in which it increased from 217 in the same period last 2018. And Chicago had a total of 77 reported hate crimes through early November of 2019, compared with 78 for the whole of 2018.
Among the report’s other notable findings:
The hate crimes against Muslims and Arab-Americans have dropped to the lowest levels since 2014, while the crimes against Latinos have increased from 427 hate crimes in 2017 up to 485 hate crimes in 2018.
As for the single-bias hate crimes, nearly 60 percent of victims were targeted because of their race, ethnicity and ancestry. And nearly 20 percent were targeted because of their religion and nearly 17 percent were targeted because of their sexual orientation.
There were nearly 47 percent of race-related hate crimes driven by anti-black or anti-African American bias in the year 2019.
In order to resolve and put action to the recent rampant cases of hate crimes, the Department of Justice administers the federal hate crimes laws that cover all the certain crimes committed on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or disability.
The Department of Justice started prosecuting federal hate crimes cases after the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1968.
The list information below explains and simplifies the current federal hate crimes laws.
Federal Hate Crime Laws
- Show Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009, 18 U.S.C. § 249.
- Show Criminal Interference with Right to Fair Housing, 42 U.S.C. § 3631.
- Show Damage to Religious Property, Church Arson Prevention Act, 18 U.S.C. § 247.
- Show Violent Interference with Federally Protected Rights, 18 U.S.C. § 245.
- Show Conspiracy Against Rights, 18 U.S.C. § 241.