Fact Sheet: Justice Department Efforts to Combat Hate Crimes
Preventing and prosecuting hate crimes is a top priority for the Justice Department. Hate crimes instill fear across communities and undermine our democracy. In one of his first acts, Attorney General Merrick B. Garland issued a directive to the Department to conduct a 30-day expedited internal review to determine how the Department could deploy all the tools at its disposal to counter the recent rise in hate crimes and hate incidents.
On May 27, 2021, following the review’s completion and the passage of the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act and Jabara-Heyer NO HATE Act, the Attorney General issued a memorandum announcing immediate steps to deter hate crimes and bias-related incidents, address them when they occur, support victims, and reduce the pernicious effects these incidents have on our society. Since then, the Department has aggressively implemented the Attorney General’s directives to increase resources to combat hate crimes through federal law enforcement action and to enhance training, support and outreach to state and local partners.
Combating Hate by Investigating and Prosecuting Hate Crimes
- Pursuing Hate Crimes Prosecutions: Since January 2021, charged more than 90 defendants in over 80 cases and secured more than 70 convictions of defendants.
- Elevating Hate Crimes Threat Level: Elevating civil rights violations and hate crimes enforcement for prioritization among the FBI’s 56 field offices.
- Expediting Review of Hate Crimes: Designating the chief of the Criminal Section of the Civil Rights Division to serve in the role of facilitating the expedited review of hate crimes.
- Enhancing State and Local Law Enforcement Training: Launching a hate crimes recognition and reporting training aimed at line-level state and local law enforcement officers and holding trainings for state and local law enforcement on assessing and managing hate crime and domestic extremist violence threats. This training is provided for free to state, local, tribal, territorial, and campus law enforcement agencies via the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services technical assistance program: https://cops.usdoj.gov/cri-tac.
Improving Hate Crimes Reporting
- Increasing Hate Crimes Reporting: Launching the United Against Hate program in all 94 U.S. Attorneys’ Offices by September 2023 to help improve the reporting of hate crimes and hate incidents by teaching community members how to identify, report, and help prevent hate crimes and encouraging trust building between law enforcement and communities.
- Helping Agencies Report Accurate Hate Crimes Data: Providing funding and free technical support to assist law enforcement agencies transition from the old crime data collection system to the FBI’s National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS), the only way for state and local agencies to submit crime data, including hate crime data, to the FBI. Conducting outreach to police chiefs, law enforcement groups, and mayors to emphasize the importance of accurate hate crime data collection.
- Engaging State and Local Law Enforcement: Facilitating FBI-hosted regional conferences across the country with state and local law enforcement agencies regarding federal civil rights and hate crimes laws to encourage reporting, strengthen relationships between law enforcement and local civil rights organizations, and build trust within the diverse communities they serve.
- Designating Hate Crimes Coordinators: Designating Assistant U.S. Attorney Civil Rights Coordinators in every U.S. Attorney’s Office (USAO) and creating an online toolkit that provides USAOs with customizable community outreach materials, information about the Department’s grant opportunities and technical assistance programs, and other materials that may improve local reporting of potential hate crimes and incidents.
- Expanding Language Access: Designating an inaugural Language Access Coordinator to improve knowledge, use, and expansion of the department’s language resources.
- Increasing Language Access for Reporting Hate Crimes: Adding information to the department’s website on reporting hate crimes in 24 languages, including 18 of the most frequently spoken AAPI languages in the United States.
- Conducting an Awareness Campaign: Launching an FBI-led National Anti-Hate Crimes Campaign involving all 56 FBI field offices to encourage reporting. The campaign includes outdoor advertising, billboards, and radio streaming in addition to social media.
Shoring Up Resources to Combat Hate Crimes
- Coordinating Hate Crimes Resources: Designating a Deputy Associate Attorney General as the Department’s Anti-Hate Crimes Resources Coordinator.
- Designating Hate Crimes Coordinators: Designating Assistant U.S. Attorney Civil Rights Coordinators in every U.S. Attorney’s Office (USAO).
- Strengthening USAO Access to Online Hate Crimes Enforcement and Prevention Resources: Creating an Online Toolkit for Combating Hate Crimes and Incidents, a one-stop shop providing USAOs with a comprehensive set of online prosecutorial resources. The Toolkit strengthens USAOs’ ability to lead hate crimes prevention efforts, providing them with customizable community outreach materials, including for the United Against Hate program, as well as technical assistance and grant information to share with community and law enforcement stakeholders.
- Conducting New Research: Completing new research and evaluation studies, including understanding and preventing hate crime offending and reoffending; identifying strategies that improve the reporting, investigating and prosecuting of hate crimes; and addressing the needs of victims of hate crimes and their communities.
- Awarding Grants: Awarding over $32 million in grant funding to law enforcement and prosecution agencies, community-based organizations, and civil rights groups to support outreach, investigations, prosecutions, community awareness and preparedness, reporting, hotlines, and victim services; as well as supporting research and program evaluation studies. Examples include:
- The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Program, which supports state, local and Tribal law enforcement and prosecution agencies and their partners in conducting outreach, and investigating and prosecuting hate crimes;
- The Community Based Approaches to Prevent and Address Hate Crimes Program, which supports community-based organizations and civil rights groups in implementing comprehensive approaches to promote community awareness and preparedness, increase victim reporting, strengthen community resiliency, and improve responses to hate crimes;
- The Jabara-Heyer NO HATE Act Program, which supports state-run hate crime reporting hotlines and assists jurisdictions’ transition to NIBRS to improve hate crimes data reporting; and
- The Emmett Till Program, which supports law enforcement and prosecutors and their partners in their efforts to investigate and resolve cold-case homicides that involve civil rights violations.
Educating the Public and Law Enforcement on How to Protect Our Communities
- Strengthening the Community Relations Service: Revitalizing the Community Relations Service by, among other things, facilitating over a dozen Protecting Places of Worship forums to provide interfaith communities with resources and information on securing their places of worship and help faith leaders build relationships with law enforcement.
- Raising Awareness of the Rise in Hate Crimes During COVID-19 Pandemic: Publishing guidance with the Department of Health and Human Services to raise awareness of the rise in hate crimes during the COVID-19 pandemic, including a surge of hate crimes and hate incidents against Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities, and share tips for law enforcement, government officials, and community-based organizations to prevent and respond to hate crimes.
- Combating Juvenile Hate Crimes and Identity-based Bullying: Conducting a multi-prong initiative to prevent and combat youth hate crimes, hate incidents, and identity-based bullying, including a virtual symposium, a webinar series, 19 youth roundtable discussions that identified ways to engage and empower youth to combat and prevent hate, and the development of additional resources to be released later this year.
- Clarifying the Use of Byrne JAG grants: Sending guidance to State Administrating Agencies to clarify that Byrne JAG grants can be used to increase patrols and deployments that bolster the security of at-risk nonprofit organizations, including synagogues, churches, mosques, and other places of worship.
More information about the Department’s response to hate crimes is available at https://www.justice.gov/hatecrimes.