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Read the instructions below to understand how to get immediate help and how to report a hate crime that you have witnessed or experienced.

To get help in an emergency

If you or someone you know is in imminent danger, dial 9-1-1 or contact your local police department.

A picture of a man wearing a telephone headset.

To report a hate crime

If you believe that you have been the victim of a hate crime, or believe that you have witnessed a hate crime:

Step 1: Report the crime to your local police as soon as possible.

Step 2: Quickly follow up this report with a call to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Tip Line.

Call the FBI Tip Line at 1-800-225-5324

The FBI employs telephone interpreters so that they can speak with you. When you call there will be a one-minute recorded message in English and Spanish. Remain on the line until you hear a live operator. Say the name of the language that you speak, and an operator will connect you with a qualified interpreter to help you to report a hate crime that you know about or experienced.

What is a hate crime?

​A Crime


Motivation for Committing the Crime Based on Bias


Hate Crime

Hate: The term "hate" can be misleading. When used in a hate crime law, the word "hate" does not mean rage, anger, or general dislike. In this context “hate” means bias against people or groups with specific characteristics that are defined by the law.

Crime: The "crime" in hate crime is often a violent crime, such as assault, murder, arson, vandalism, or threats to commit such crimes. It may also cover conspiring or asking another person to commit such crimes, even if the crime was never carried out.

Bias or Hate Incident: Acts of prejudice that are not crimes and do not involve violence, threats, or property damage. Federal hate crime laws cover crimes committed on the basis of:

Race Disability
Ethnicity/National Origin Color
Sexual Orientation Gender
Gender Identity Religion

State hate crime laws vary. Most include crimes committed based on race, color and religion. Many also include additional categories.

First Amendment and Free Speech:

Under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, people cannot be prosecuted simply for their beliefs, even when those beliefs are offensive. The First Amendment does not, however, protect people who commit crimes because of a protected belief.

Updated November 28, 2022