The Path Forward
We need to reverse the trend on hate crimes that has been rising steadily since 2008. We need to pass laws, invest in communities, and take care of each other. While some of these path-forward-proposals will increase the number of hate crimes that we count, it will allow America to protect those most in need.
🗂 Pass state legislation to require hate crime reporting — Only 18 states do not have a legal requirements to report hate crime data to the FBI. As such, data collection is voluntary in those areas. The Department of Justice currently relies on reports from 15,138 state and local agencies to report hate crimes, but much of this is voluntary. Wyoming, Arkansas, and South Carolina don’t even have any local laws explaining what hate crimes are and are not.
👮♀️ Train police offices in identifying hate crimes — Only 12 states have statutes requiring that academies provide instruction on hate crimes. Hate crimes are not simple to deal with — motive is everything in the trial process and it is critical to not mishandle information on what was said. Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers across America have a budget of $355M, more of which should be spent on engaging departments that they have not yet contacted and providing more training on how to report hate crimes.
🌗 Improve the ways we characterize hate crimes—The Anti-Defamation League keeps a list of 214 words and symbols that can be used to characterize hate. Some minorities are better represented here than others, but we can do more to make sure we are capturing the full range of hateful terms that can be used in a courtroom to show intent
❤️ Take care of your neighbor—1 in 3 hate crimes occurs in public. Victims surrounded by bystanders are often attacked. The national discourse has been painful for the last 4 years and we cannot ignore how the rhetoric has changed. Know that hate crimes are on the rise and minority communities may be feeling particularly vulnerable. The next time a hate crime happens, text a friend and make sure they’re ok. Whether you’re in a protected category or not, love is the best weapon against hate.