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A Policymaker's Guide to Hate Crimes

NCJ Number
Date Published
March 1997
79 pages
Publication Series
This monograph explains the scope and nature of the Nation's hate crime problem and provides an overview of the current responses to hate crimes by local, State, and Federal government agencies; law enforcement authorities; and civil rights groups.
After defining hate crimes and reviewing their patterns and trends in the United States, the monograph examines the significant strides made by the Federal Government in creating a baseline of raw data on hate crimes and the problems that impede the reporting of hate crime incidents. In addition, it summarizes current State laws and U.S. Supreme Court decisions regarding hate crimes. Preventive measures and tactics for dealing with hate-crime offenders also are discussed, with references to vanguard programs in specific communities. The monograph notes that the newest and most innovative response to bias-motivated crimes is the formation of "hate crime response networks," which serve as information clearinghouses on rights and services. The network is set up like a wheel with many spokes. At the hub is a human rights commission or other appropriate public agency or nonprofit organization that designates staff to coordinate the project or acts as a fiscal agent. A series of committees compose the "spokes," each representing a different focus area, such as community activities, criminal justice, schools, the media, and youth. The monograph contains descriptions of focus areas that policymakers might want to consider to enhance hate crime responses by law enforcement agencies and to help reduce the number of bias-motivated incidents. 134 notes and a 34-item bibliography

Date Published: March 1, 1997