Hate crime, also known as bias crime, is a criminal act committed against a person, property, or society which is motivated by the perpetrator's bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation or ethnicity/national origin.
Congress enacted the Hate Crime Statistics Act of 1990 on April 23 of that same year in response to growing national concern over crimes motivated by bias. The Act requires the Attorney General to "collect data about crimes that show evidence of prejudice based on race, religion, sexual orientation or ethnicity."
Graph Bias-motivated Offenses/Percent Distribution 2002
Bias motivation in hate crimes are most likely to be based off race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and religion. Ways to determine or detect if a crime is bias motivated is dependent upon "language or symbols used (racist tattoos, slurs, hate group symbols), severity and nature of attack, previous record of offender of similar incidents, absence of other motives, (money, relationship, etc) and perpetrators membership in a certain hate group."
(UCSB, Hate Crime brochure)
In Barbara Perry's book, "In the Name of Hate" she quotes Benjamin Bowling commenting that an important consideration in defining hate crime is to look at hate crime as a process, rather than an event. (Perry, 2001) Bowling wishes to define the term "hate crime" in a way to give it "life" and meaning so many elements will be taken into account when attempting to describe hate crime.
The Anti-Defamation League addresses these topics in their hate training seminars:
* Understanding the importance of hate crimes training
* Organized hate groups - signs and symbols
* Perpetrator profiles
* Elements of a hate crime
* Criteria for determining a hate crime
* The impact of hate crimes on the community
* Initial response procedures
* Addressing the special needs of hate crime victims