The Community Relations Service (CRS), an arm of the U.S. Department of Justice, is a specialized Federal conciliation service available to State and local officials to help resolve and prevent racial and ethnic conflict, violence and civil disorders. When governors, mayors, police chiefs, and school superintendents need help to defuse racial crises, they turn to CRS. CRS helps local officials and residents tailor locally defined resolutions when conflict and violence threaten community stability and well-being. CRS conciliators assist in identifying the sources of violence and conflict and utilizing specialized crisis management and violence reduction techniques which work best for each community. CRS has no law enforcement authority and does not impose solutions, investigate or prosecute cases, or assign blame or fault. CRS conciliators are required by law to conduct their activities in confidence, without publicity, and are prohibited from disclosing confidential information.
In 1997, CRS was involved in 135 hate crime cases that caused or intensified community racial and ethnic tensions. As authorized by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, CRS became involved only in those cases in which the criminal offender was motivated by the victim's race, color, or national origin. Of all hate crime incidents reported to the U.S. Department of Justice's Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in 1996, 72 percent were motivated by the victim's race, color, or national origin.
Hate crime is the violence of intolerance and bigotry, intended to hurt and intimidate someone because of their race, ethnicity, national origin, religious, sexual orientation, or disability. The purveyors of hate use explosives, arson, weapons, vandalism, physical violence, and verbal threats of violence to instill fear in their victims, leaving them vulnerable to more attacks and feeling alienated, helpless, suspicious and fearful. Others may become frustrated and angry if they believe the local government and other groups in the community will not protect them. When perpetrators of hate are not prosecuted as criminals and their acts not publicly condemned, their crimes can weaken even those communities with the healthiest race relations.
Of all crimes, hate crimes are most likely to create or exacerbate tensions, which can trigger larger community-wide racial conflict, civil disturbances, and even riots. Hate crimes put cities and towns at-risk of serious social and economic consequences. The immediate costs of racial conflicts and civil disturbances are police, fire, and medical personnel overtime, injury or death, business and residential property loss, and damage to vehicles and equipment. Long-term recovery is hindered by a decline in property values, which results in lower tax revenues, scarcity of funds for rebuilding, and increased insurance rates. Businesses and residents abandon these neighborhoods, leaving empty buildings to attract crime, and the quality of schools decline due to the loss of tax revenue. A municipality may have no choice but to cut services or raise taxes or leave the area in its post-riot condition until market forces of supply and demand rebuild the area.
In 1996, the FBI received reports of 10,706 hate crimes from State and local law enforcement agencies, involving 11,039 victims, and 10,021 known perpetrators. The crimes included 12 murders, 10 forcible rapes, 1,444 aggravated assaults, 1,762 simple assaults, and 4,130 acts of intimidation.
Among the known perpetrators, 66 percent were white, and 20 percent were black. Some perpetrators commit hate crimes with their peers as a "thrill" or while under the influence of drugs or alcohol; some as a reaction against a perceived threat or to preserve their "turf'; and some who out of resentment over the growing economic power of a particular racial or ethnic group engage in scapegoating.
In Augusta, Michigan, two black families experienced a series of hate crimes, including a cross burning and a vandalized vehicle. When tensions increased across the community, CRS worked with representatives from more than 25 churches, law enforcement agencies, schools, and community organizations to develop both short- and longterm approaches to eliminate hate crimes.
In Clarksville, Tennessee the U.S. Attorney requested CRS assistance after a number of hate crimes and other incidents created community-wide tensions. CRS helped local officials establish a Human Relations Commission to mediate disputes and conflicts.
After a white youth from Guthrie, Kentucky, was killed by several black males in Robertson County, Tennessee, for displaying on his truck the confederate flag, the emblem of the youth's high school, regional tensions flared, marked by cross burnings and other incidents. CRS worked with Federal, State and local officials to restore racial order, including assistance to the mayor of Guthrie in establishing a Community Relations Commission to help maintain stability.
After three black youths were wounded in a Ku Klux Klan (KKK) drive-by shooting of a black nightclub in Lexington County, South Carolina, CRS conducted a series of conciliation meetings with the youths' families, State and county government and school officials, and black and white citizen groups to promote harmonious racial relations.
In St. Louis, Missouri, an Asian refugee sitting in his automobile in front of his house was killed by a black youth. Long-simmering ethnic-racial tensions were exacerbated by the murder, and civil disturbances appeared imminent. CRS helped Federal, State and local officials, and community and religious organizations develop a process to begin to address both the immediate and underlying social and economic causes of the tension.
CRS assistance was requested by school district officials and leaders of 17 community organizations to reduce racial tensions in a high school in Fairbanks, Alaska, after the KKK directed its recruitment activities at the school and a series of hate crimes incidents occurred against black and native Alaskan residents.
CRS conciliators helped administrators of a high school in Tucson, Arizona, following two months of racial violence between white, black, and Hispanic students, with one incident requiring the response of more than 120 law enforcement officers. CRS helped restore stability in the schools and ease tensions in the community.
In Suffolk County, New York, administrators of school districts requested CRS assistance when hate crimes and racial conflicts increased tensions in the county's schools and communities. At a Brookhaven high school, CRS responded when racial tensions escalated into violence after white students distributed flyers promoting white supremacy. In Deerpark, CRS mediation and conciliation services helped students, parents and officials stop hate crimes and racial violence in middle and high schools.
In Independence, Kansas, CRS was contacted when the home of a black family was firebombed, one in a series of incidents and threats to force the families to move from an all-white neighborhood. By working with various government agencies and community groups, CRS helped reduce tension in the area.
In Rome, Georgia, CRS was asked by a Hispanic minister to help end racial conflicts arising from the movement of Hispanic families to a previously all-black apartment building. Hate crimes, including violent assaults, robberies, and vandalism, increased the tensions among all residents. CRS helped resolve the conflict by working with government officials and Hispanic and black community leadership.
In Wilmington, Delaware, the U.S. Attorney asked CRS to resolve tensions and conflicts involving Hispanic and black residents of a housing complex, which was marked by arson, violence, and intimidation. CRS mediated the tensions and, by working with local government agencies and residents of the complex, established a resident-operated mediation process to maintain stability in the event of future tensions.
In Omaha, Nebraska, CRS assistance was requested by Federal and State authorities after two black families were relocated from a primarily white housing complex after a series of firebombings, vandalism and verbal threats. CRS helped the police department develop an educational program to teach citizens about hate crime.
In Milwaukee, Wisconsin, an Asian-owned store targeted for protests and boycott by black residents was firebombed. When existing community-wide tensions were heightened by comments on a local talk show by boycott leaders, CRS successfully mediated the long-running dispute at the request of the U.S. Attorney.
In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, CRS mediated a dispute between Korean and black business owners and employees in a public market when tensions escalated in the community and the market's business dropped.
In Bridgeport, Washington, the relatively rapid demographic shift in a multi-county area from primarily white to a majority of Hispanic agricultural workers led to a series of hate crimes and racial conflicts, including the murder of two Hispanic men by two white men, formation of armed vigilante groups, and a Hispanic boycott of white-owned businesses. CRS helped local government agencies and civic, business and community groups develop a process to end existing tensions and prevent future conflicts.CRS Assistance on Church Burnings:
In response to the President's call for a comprehensive response by Federal agencies to address church burnings, CRS staff have worked directly with more than 230 rural, suburban, and urban governments in 17 states to help eliminate racial distrust and polarization, promote multiracial construction of new buildings, conduct race relations training for community leaders and law enforcement officers, and provide technical assistance in ways to bring together law enforcement agencies and minority neighborhoods. CRS serves as a principal partner on the President's Church Arson Task Force.
From years of experience with hundreds of hate crime cases that have caused or intensified community-wide racial and ethnic tensions, CRS recommends certain "best practices" to prevent hate crimes and restore harmony in the community.
A core responsibility of government is to protect the civil rights of its citizens and to advance its inherent obligation to ensure good race and ethnic relations. This tenet cannot be abrogated and such a commitment requires no special funding. A government can confirm its commitment to the safety and well-being of its citizens by establishing an ordinance against hate crime activity or enhancing the punishment for hate crime. It can also encourage compliance with existing equal opportunity statutes.
A local government may establish an ordinance against hate activity modeled on existing hate crime law in effect in that State. Punishment is enhanced by promulgating guidelines or amending existing guidelines to provide varying offense levels for use in sentencing There should be reasonable consistency with other guidelines, avoidance of duplicative punishments for the same offense, and consideration of any mitigating circumstances. Compliance with existing statutes can be achieved by training law enforcement officers to enforce existing statutes, imposing fines or penalties when ordinances are violated, reviewing licenses or privileges, reviewing tax exempt status, and providing incentives or awards. A local government may also establish boards or commissions to review and analyze hate crime activity, create public service announcements, and recommend measures to counter hate activity. In September 1994, Congress also enacted a Federal hate crime penalty enhancement statute (Public Law 103-322 § 28003), which would increase the penalties for Federal crimes where the victim was selected "because of the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, gender, disability, or sexual orientation of any person. "
When left unresolved, simmering racial and ethnic friction can be triggered by a hate crime into a community-wide conflict or civil disturbance. Communication and interaction between majority and minority groups is often a key factor in preventing tensions or restoring harmony.
A Human Rights Commission (HRQ can facilitate and coordinate discussions, training, and events for the benefit of everyone. An HRC can create a forum for talking about racial and ethnic relations and encourage citizens to discuss their differences, commonalities, hopes and dreams. Forums could focus on the common features of community life, including economic development, education, transportation, environment, cultural and recreational opportunities, leadership, community attitudes, and racial and ethnic diversity. The Commission can use multicultural training and special events to promote harmony and stability. Also, see A Policymaker's Guide to Hate Crimes, published by the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), US. Department of Justice. Telephone 8001688-4252, or visit their home page at www ojp usdoj gov/BJA.
Racial and ethnic tensions increase during periods of economic downswings. Hate crimes may occur when unemployed or underemployed workers vent anger on available scapegoats from the minority groups.
Coalitions of representatives from political, business, civic, religious, and community organizations help create a positive climate in the community and encourage constructive dialogue. Coalitions can recommend initiatives to help racial and ethnic communities affected by the loss of jobs, including programs and plans to help local government ensure an equitable disbursement of public and private finds, resources, and services.
Hate crimes can often be prevented by policies designed to promote good racial and ethnic relations.
Local governments can assure that everyone has access to fill participation in the municipality's decision-making processes, including equal opportunity for minorities to be represented on appointed boards and commissions. Local governments might institute a policy of inclusion for appointments on boards and commissions. The policy could require listing all appointive positions, and notifying all racial and ethnic groups of open seats through the minority media.
Racial and ethnic tensions may increase in schools when there are rapid demographic or socio-economic changes. Tensions may result from the perception of unequal educational opportunities or disparate practices in hiring faculty and staff within the school district.
Preventing and dealing with hate crimes and hate-based gang activity in schools are the responsibility of school and police officials, who should work together to develop a plan to handle hate crimes and defuse racial tensions. Hate crimes can be school-related, communityrelated, or a combination of both. Officials should consider prevention and response roles, identify potential trouble sites, and plan for phased police intervention. Tension can be eased by regular communication with parents, students, media, and other community organizations. Mediation and conflict resolution classes develop the capacity of young people to peacefully settle disputes and conflicts. For more information on how to prevent and counter hate crime in schools, contact the Office for Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), US. Department of Justice. See also OJJDPs A National Hate Crime Prevention Curriculum for Middle Schools. Telephone 8001638-8736, or visit their home page at www.ncjrs.gov/ojjhome.htm.
Law enforcement officers believe rumors aggravate more than twothirds of all civil disturbances. When racial or ethnic tensions may become heightened by exaggerated rumors, a temporary rumor control and verification center is an effective mechanism to ensure accurate information.
A temporary rumor control and verification center typically is operated 24 hours a day during the crisis period by a local government agency. It is staffed by professionals and trained volunteers. The media and others should publicize the telephone number.
The influence of the print and broadcast media on preventing and investigating hate crimes cannot be overstated. The media is critical in shaping public attitudes about the crime, its perpetrators, and the law enforcement response.
The media can play an important role in preventing hate crimes from increasing community tensions. Local officials should designate an informed single-point-of-contact for hate crime information. Accurate, thorough, and responsible reporting significantly improves the likelihood that stability and harmony will be restored The media can promote public understanding of mediation and conflict resolution processes, and help alleviate fear, suspicion, and anger.
During the transition by a local law enforcement agency from traditional policing to community-oriented policing, retention of the agency's Community Affairs/Relations Office should be carefully considered.
During the transition to community-oriented policing, some law enforcement agencies may choose to close their community relations office, encouraging their community policing officers on the beat to learn who the key community leaders are in their patrol sectors. In this case, the department must make certain it does not lose institutional knowledge about community leaders, the mutual benefits of a working relationship, and the means to learn about and work with up-and-coming leaders. The experience gained by officers permanently assigned to monitor and work on community relations matters should be used in this transition period If the office is to be disbanded, community leaders who have worked with the officers in the past should be consulted on the proposed changes during the planning process.
Hate Crimes Must Be Investigated and Reported
Findings on the exact number of hate crimes and trends are difficult to establish and interpretations about hate crimes vary among individuals, law enforcement agencies, public and private organizations, and community groups.
A municipality should assure that its law enforcement agencies adopt the model policy supported by the International Association of Chiefs of Police (tel. 7031836-6767) for investigating and reporting hate crimes. This model policy uses the standard reporting form and uniform definition of hate crime developed by the FBI after passage of The Hate Crime Statistics Act (HCSA), 28 U.S.C 534, enacted April 1990, as amended by the Church Arson Prevention Act of June 1996 (The HCSA also requires the collection of data on crimes based on religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity, and disability). The FBI offers training for law enforcement officers and administrators on developing data collection procedures. For more information, call the FBI at 1-888-UCR-NIBR. CRS and the FBI recommend a two-tier procedure for accurately collecting and reporting hate crime case information. It includes: (1) the officer on the scene of an alleged bias crime making an initial determination that bias motivation is "suspected"; and (2) a second officer or unit with more expertise in bias matters making the final determination of whether a hate crime has actually occurred For more information, see the FBIs Training Guide for Hate Crime Data Collection and Hate Crime Data Collection Guidelines. Telephone 3041625-4995. See also Hate/Bias Crimes Train-the-Trainer Program, conducted by the
National Center for State, Local and International Law Enforcement Training Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, US. Treasury Department. Telephone 91212673240.
Hate Crimes and Multi-jurisdictional Task Forces
Multi-jurisdictional or regional task forces are an effective means of sharing information and combining resources to counter hate crime activity.
Some local governments have institutionalized sharing of expertise and agency resources through memorandums of understanding. For example, creating a coalition of public and private agencies and community organizations will give cities in the county or region a complete and thorough range of resources and information to promote racial and ethnic relations and counter hate crimes. This network or consortium can also work with coalitions created especially to investigate and prosecute hate crimes. Such a coalition might include the district attorney, the city attorney, law enforcement agencies, and civil rights, community, and educational organizations. This partnership links prosecutory and law enforcement agencies and communitybased response organizations. See also, Stopping Hate Crime: A Case History from the Sacramento Police Department, by BJA. Telephone 8001688-4252.
Nearly two-thirds of all known perpetrators of hate crimes are teenagers or young adults. When appropriate, a victim-offender restitution program or offender counseling program can be an effective sanction for juveniles.
Educational counseling programs for young perpetrators Of hate crime can help dispel stereotypes, prejudice, fears, and other motivators of hate crime. Counseling may include sessions with members of minority groups and visits to local correctional facilities. In addition, "restorative justice, " the concept of healing both the victim and the offender while regaining the trust of the community, may be appropriate. The offenders are held accountable and are required to repair both the physical and emotional damage caused by their actions.
To ensure a comprehensive response to hate crimes, the needs of the victims must be served.
For more information on how to meet the diverse needs of both the immediate and secondary victims of hate crimes, contact the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC), US Department of Justice. 0 VC also provides funding for State offices to provide victim assistance and victim compensation services. See also OVC's National Bias Crimes Training: For Law Enforcement and Victim Assistance Professionals. Telephone 20213054548, or visit their home page at www. ojp. usdoj.gov/ovc/.
On November 10, 1997, at the White House Conference on Hate Crime, the President declared "Starting today, every United States Attorney in our country will establish or expand working groups to develop enforcement practices, and educate the public about hate crimes. This national hate crimes network will marshal the resources of Federal, state and local enforcement,. community groups, educators, and antiviolence advocates, to give us another powerful tool in the struggle against hate crimes. For more information on local efforts in your area, call the hate crime coordinator in your U.S. Attorney's office.
When hate crimes threaten racial and ethnic relations or escalate community-wide tensions, CRS offers five types of services. To determine the best service(s), CRS conciliators meet with elected officials and community leaders, analyzing a variety of indicators, including causes, potential for violence or continued violence, extent of dialogue, communication and interest in working cooperatively to restore harmony and stability. The five services are:
Mediation and Conciliation. Mediation and conciliation are two techniques used by CRS to help resolve communitywide tensions and conflicts arising from hate crimes. CRS conciliators provide representatives of community groups and local government leaders with an impartial forum to help restore stability and harmony through orderly dialogue and clarification of the issues. CRS establishes with the parties the ground rules for discussion and facilitates the meetings.
Technical Assistance. CRS can assist local officials and community leaders with developing and implementing polices, practices, and procedures to respond to hate crimes and garner the support of residents and organizations to ease tensions and help end conflicts.
Training. CRS can conduct training sessions and workshops to teach patrol officers and residents how to recognize a hate crime, gain support of the community early in the investigation, and begin the identification of victims and witnesses to the crime. CRS can teach community leaders and volunteers how to prevent the likelihood of more hate crimes, and how to assist and share information in the investigation by law enforcement agencies. Volunteers can serve in such valuable roles as rumor control, initiating community watch patrols, and raising public consciousness about types of hate crimes and those who perpetrate such offenses.
Public Education and Awareness. CRS can also conduct hate crime prevention and education programs in schools, colleges, and the community. These programs break down barriers, build bridges of trust across racial and ethnic lines, develop mutual respect, and reduce fear. In 1997, CRS services were requested by more than 135 school districts and 75 colleges. CRS helped to address conflicts and violence, reduce tensions, develop plans to avoid potential incidents, and conduct training programs for students, teachers, administrators, and parents.
CRS offers six school-based programs. An example is Student Problem Identification and Resolution (SPIR), a conflict resolution program designed to identify and defuse racial tensions involving students at the junior and senior levels. SPIR assists school administrators in addressing racial and ethnic tensions through a carefully structured process that involves students, teachers, administrators, and parents. A further development of this program, called SPIRIT, involves local law enforcement agencies as key partners in the design of an action plan. CRS now trains officers to conduct the SPIRIT program as a part of a process to strengthen cooperation among law enforcement and school officials.
Event Contingency Planning. CRS, at the request of either local officials or demonstration organizers, can assist in contingency planning to ensure that marches, demonstrations, and similar events occur without exacerbating racial and ethnic tensions and minimizing the prospect of any confrontations. CRS assisted Federal and State officials plan the 1996 International Olympic Summer Games in Atlanta, Georgia, and the national political conventions in San Diego, California, and Chicago, Illinois. CRS can also train community residents to plan and monitor local-level events. CRS assistance is often requested when demonstrations and marches are scheduled. For example, CRS has helped scores of municipalities with KKK rallies and counter-demonstrations.
As part of the Attorney General's Hate Crime Initiative, CRS and the FBI's Hate Crime Unit, working with the Department of Treasury's Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, the National Association of Attorneys General, and the International Association of Directors of Law Enforcement Standards and Training and other USDOJ agencies, are developing four model hate crime training curricula. The four curricula are specifically designed for patrol officers, investigating officers, supervising officers and a multilevel audience of officers. This effort was undertaken to provide State and local law enforcement officers with the skills and knowledge that are crucial to the identification, reporting, investigation and prosecution of and education about hate crimes.
The new courses are approximately eight-hours in length, can be taught at a training academy or on-site at a department, and have been field-tested at law enforcement academies and departments across the country. The curricula will contain the best policies, procedures, practices and materials used to train law enforcement officers, and provide an equitable balance of instruction on enforcement, victim assistance and community relations. The trainings are expected to be offered beginning in November, 1998.
Klanwatch, The Intelligence Report. Southern Poverty Law Center, 400 Washington Ave., Montgomery, AL 36104. 334/264-0286.
Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations, Hate Crime in Los Angeles County in 1996 320 West Temple St., Los Angeles, CA 90012. 213/974-7601.
National Asian Pacific American Legal Consortium, Audit of Violence Against Asian Pacific Americans. 100 1 Connecticut Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20036.202/296-2300.
National Conference. Provides training and technical assistance to end racism and religious bigotry. 71 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10003. 212/807-8440.
National Council on Crime and Delinquency, Hate Crime Prevention Resource Guide. 685 Market St., Suite 620, San Francisco, CA 94105. 415/896-6223.
People for the American Way, Democracy's Next Generation II: Study of American Youth on Race. 2000 M St. NW,Washington, DC 20036. 202/467-4999.
U.S. Department of Justice, Hateful Acts Hurt Kids, www.usdoj.gov/kidspage.
U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Hate Crimes Report, www.fbi.gov/ucr/hatecm.htm.
U.S. Department of Justice, Community Relations Service, and the President's Initiative on Race, One America In The 21st Century: Conducting a Discussion on Race. 202/305-2935
U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Healing the Hate: A National Bias Crime Prevention Curriculumfor Middle Schools. 800/638-8736
U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Department of Education, Preventing Youth Hate Crime, www.usdoj.gov/kidspage. See, "Information for parents and teachers."
Customer Service Standards
Community Relations Service
Our goal is to provide sensitive and effective conflict prevention and resolution services. CRS will meet the following Standards:
CRS Headquarters, Regional and Field Offices
Rose Ochi, Director
600 E Street, NW, Suite 2000
Washington, D.C. 20530
(202) 305-3009 (fax)
Regional Offices and States Within Each Region
Region I - New England
99 Summer Street, Suite 1820
Boston, MA 02110
(617) 424-5727 (fax)
Region 11 - Northeast
26 Federal Plaza, Room 36
New York, NY 10278
(212) 264-2143 (fax)
Region III - Mid-Atlantic
2nd and Chestnut Streets,
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(215) 597-9148 (fax)
CRS Regional and
Field Offices (continued)
Region IV - Southeast
75 Piedmont Avenue, NE, Room 900
Atlanta, GA 30303
(404) 331-4471 (fax)
Miami Field Office - Region IV
51 SW First Avenue, Room 424
(305) 536-7363 (fax)
Region V - Mid-West
55 West Monroe Street, Suite 420
Chicago, IL 60603
(312) 353-4390 (fax)
Detroit Field Office - Region V
211 West Fort Street, Suite 1404
Detroit, MI 48226
(313) 226-2568 (fax)
Region VI - Southwest
1420 West Mockingbird Lane, Suite 250
Dallas, TX 75247
(214) 655-8184 (fax)
Houston Field Office - Region VI
515 Rusk Avenue, Room 12605
Houston, TX 77002
(713) 7184862 (fax)
Region VII - Central
I 100 Main Street, Suite 1320
Kansas City, MO 64106
(816) 426-7441 (fax)
Region VIII - Rocky Mountain
1244 Speer Blvd., Room 650
Denver, CO 80204-3584
(303) 844-2907 (fax)
Region IX - Western
120 Howard Street, Suite 790
San Francisco, CA 94105
(415) 744-6590 (fax)
Los Angeles Field Office - Region IX
888 South Figueroa Street, Suite 1880
Los Angeles, CA 90017
(213) 894-2880 (fax)
Region X - Northwest
915 Second Avenue, Room 1808
Seattle, WA 98174
(206) 220-6706 (fax)
CRS World Wide Web address
U.S. Department of Justice
Community Relations Service
Washington, D.C 20530
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