Response to Hate Crimes

Responses to hate crime range from changes in legislation to law enforcement training aimed at improving responses to these crimes; to investigation, prosecution, and prevention of hate crimes; to victim support programs; to diversity and tolerance education programs.[1] Most States and metropolitan areas have some form of government-sponsored hate crime initiative involving criminal justice agencies. Municipal police departments in many large urban areas have hate crime units within their department, and police departments are often involved as members of State or regional hate crime task forces.

The Federal Government has also supported several initiatives to address hate crime. The Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), for example, has provided funding for the Center for the Prevention of Hate Violence at the University of Southern Maine to produce a series of reports on BJA-supported initiatives and State and local demonstration projects. Many recommendations and "best practice" suggestions for how to effectively address, prevent, and respond to hate crime have emerged over the past 15 years. Although these recommendations are derived from practical experience and expert opinion and appear well-conceived, none of the myriad criminal justice responses has been subjected to rigorous empirical evaluation.


[note 1] Holden, G., P.E. Lawrence, L.D. Moran, R. Kapler, and J.A. Ferrante. A Policymaker's Guide to Hate Crimes. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance, 1999, NCJ 162304.

Date Modified: December 22, 2010