Hatred Fueled Crimes

Author: HOPE EVANS

Hatred fueled by prejudice and bias has motivated criminal acts throughout history. These hate crimes continue to challenge the safety and well-being of all people.

Hate Crimes are described as traditional offenses such as vandalism, arson, and murder with an added component of racial bias. The FBI defines it, for the basis of collecting statistics, as a “criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender's biases against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, or gender identity”. Hate speech usually occurs before, during, or after the events of a hate crime. There might be symbols of hate, potentially on the perpetrators clothing or on their personal possessions, or left at the scene of the crime. The injuries sustained in a hate crime tend to be more vicious and grievous than those sustained in other crimes and the perpetrator of the hate crime has normally committed acts of a similar type in the past.

The FBI has collected statistics on hate crimes. As of 2017, 59.6% of the victims targeted for hate crimes were due to offenders’ biases against ethnicity, ancestry, or race. 58.1% of victims were targeted because of their offenders' anti-Jewish bias. Of the crimes reported, the FBI states that 60.3% were crimes against person and 36.9% were crimes against property. The FBI didn’t have specific locations for where hate crimes took place; however, they do note that 27.5% of hate crimes occurred near residences, and 17.0% took place on highways or roads.

The American Psychological Association stated that victims of hate crimes “are more likely to experience psychological distress than victims of violent crimes”.  Victims may develop an “us versus them” mentality, and feel scared that they may become a victim of again. Victims may also lose trust in the members of the perpetrators' group and may feel a desire to hurt themselves or have suicidal thoughts. Hate crimes send a message to the group the victim belongs to and can make them all feel unwanted in a particular community.

Hate crimes are considered an extreme form of prejudice, that is made expected and probable within the context of social and political change. “Offenders may feel that their livelihood or way of life is threatened by demographic changes” per the American Psychological Association. This is believable considering that hate crimes have risen steadily over the past five years in comparison to all of the major social and political changes, such as the legalization of gay marriage, having the first African-American president, and one of the single most controversial presidencies of this decade.

If you are a victim of a hate crime or know someone who is, here are important steps to take.

  • Get Medical help, if needed.

  • Write down details of the crime as soon as you can after the incident.

    • Preserve evidence and take photographs of the evidence.

    • Do not delete electronic correspondence (e.g., text messages, e-mails, social media posts, etc.), including your own.

    • Record information you can remember about the perpetrator, including approximate age, height, weight, gender, race, clothing and any other distinguishing characteristics such as tattoos or accents the person had.

    • Obtain contact information (names, addresses, and telephone numbers) of any other victims or witnesses to the offense.

  • File reports with law enforcement after the incident. Request that the report indicates that the offense may have been a hate crime. Relay to law enforcement the exact wording of what was said, no matter how offensive it might have been.

  • Find support with friends or family, professional help, or resources from the FBI or other anti-violence programs.

  • If you are not comfortable calling law enforcement, consider calling a community or legal services organization. Call 1-844-9-NO-HATE to be connected to a local organization.

If you would like to know what hate groups are active in your state, check out this interactive hate crime map from the Southern Poverty Law Center. Let’s all do our part to put an end to hate. Here are ten ways to fight hate.

If you would like more information on hate crimes or are a victim and need assistance we can help. Contact us to learn more.


Ashleigh Diserio Consulting works with individuals and organizations, assisting them in gleaning insight into a person’s life, motivation, and past and future behavior, so certain areas of behavior can be understood with a high degree of accuracy. We provide services in the areas of criminal and intelligence investigations, management support, threat assessment, insider threat support, and education and training.