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Law Enforcement Roundtable Report on Hate Crimes

LEA roundtable

Improving Hate Crimes Investigations and Reporting: U.S. Department of Justice Issues Comprehensive Report and Roadmap

A comprehensive new report by the Department’s Hate Crimes Enforcement and Prevention Initiative, Improving the Identification, Investigation, and Reporting of Hate Crimes: A Summary Report of the Law Enforcement Roundtable (August 2020) (“Roundtable Report”), sets forth key recommendations and action steps to combat hate crime.

The Roundtable Report highlights the results of a problem-solving and action planning session by representatives of diverse law enforcement agencies, national policing organizations, and federal government leaders in October 2018. The report also incorporates stakeholder feedback received throughout the life of the Hate Crimes Initiative. The result is a valuable roadmap for change.

As discussed in the Roundtable Report, underreporting of hate crimes by both law enforcement and victims is a major challenge to combating hate crimes. Underidentification of hate crimes by law enforcement is also an issue.

The Hate Crimes Enforcement and Prevention Initiative is charged with coordinating the DOJ’s efforts to eradicate hate crimes, in part by facilitating training, outreach, and education to law enforcement agencies and the public at the federal, state, local and tribal levels.


The Department is moving forward on the Report’s primary recommendations for improving the identification and reporting of hate crimes.

  1. First, plans are underway to develop comprehensive hate crimes training—including on identifying, investigating, and reporting hate crimes—for law enforcement at every level.
  2. Next, the DOJ is developing an outreach program to support law enforcement efforts to develop strong community bonds through systematic hate crime education and outreach efforts.
  3. Finally, the DOJ is also working to incentivize and reward innovative, effective practices to improve law enforcement identification and reporting of hate crimes.

The Roundtable Report is a valuable resource for law enforcement and others working to combat hate crimes. Future Spotlight articles will focus on specific resources and topic areas discussed in the report, including:

  • Why accurate data is central to hate crimes enforcement and prevention;
  • A field driven diagnostic checklist for law enforcement, covering topics such as leadership and internal structure, investigations, data, and community capacity building;
  • The “Not In Our Town” films, featuring real-life stories about the impact of hate crimes to promote understanding and build community; and
  • DOJ resources on improving the identification, investigation and reporting of hate crimes.

Hate crimes have a devastating effect beyond the harm inflicted on any one victim. They reverberate through families, communities, and the entire nation as others fear that they too may be threatened, attacked, or forced from their homes because of what they look like, who they are, where they worship, whom they love, or whether they have a disability. Eliminating hate crimes and bias-motivated violence from our communities and our country is one of the Department’s highest priorities. Identifying, investigating, and reporting hate crimes when they occur helps ensure that data is complete and accurate, and allows appropriate resources to be directed towards solving and preventing hate crime—a goal everyone shares.

The October 2018 Law Enforcement Roundtable was undertaken with the critical assistance of the COPS Office. The Roundtable Report also incorporates feedback from events since 2017, including the Attorney General’s Crime Reduction and Public Safety Summit, along with a DOJ Hate Crimes Summit in Washington, D.C., which brought together approximately 60 community and faith leaders for a day of panel presentations from subject matter experts and small working sessions with DOJ leaders.


Updated November 14, 2022