Center for Problem-Oriented Policing

Summary of Responses to Hate Crimes

The table below summarizes the responses to hate crimes, the mechanism by which they are intended to work, the conditions under which they ought to work best, and some factors you should consider before implementing a particular response. It is critical that you tailor responses to local circumstances, and that you can justify each response based on reliable analysis. In most cases, an effective strategy will involve implementing several different responses. Law-enforcement responses alone are seldom effective in reducing or solving the problem.

..
Response No.ResponseHow It WorksWorks Best If......Considerations
General Considerations for an Effective Response Strategy
1

Prioritizing the response to hate crime within the police department

Encourages victim reporting, enhances the likelihood of solving hate crimes, and promotes public confidence in police.....officers and the public are routinely reminded of the department's commitment to addressing hate crimes; specialist units or officers are designated to respond to hate crimesEstablishing specialized hate-crime units will not always be feasible for smaller agencies
2

Establishing multi-agency task forces

Facilitates information sharing about and enhances resources to address hate crimes.....participating agencies are equally committed to responding to hate crimesInteragency protocols are useful for clarifying responsibilities and policies
Specific Responses to Reduce Hate Crimes
3Training police officersIncreases the department's ability to identify and investigate hate crimes....the training includes multiple examples and opportunities for actively applying what is learned to specific cases; training is coordinated with other community partnersDifferent employees have somewhat different training needs
4Responding to hate-crime
victims' needs
Reduces psychological trauma to victims and encourages other victims to report to police

....initial responding officers treat victims with sensitivity and professionalism

Specialized language translation and victim assistance may be required
5Increasing police presence and attention in high-risk neighborhoodsDeters hate-crime
activity and reassures
at-risk communities
....data clearly indicates high-risk areasMany police agencies lack the resources to significantly enhance police presence
6

Monitoring hate
groups and tracking
hate incidents

Promotes public confidence in police and improves police ability to detect and prevent hate crimes; deters unlawful hate activity....public is aware of police actions in addressing hate crimesPolice must be mindful of legal restrictions on monitoring groups and inhibiting free speech and right to publicly assemble
7

Reaching out to minority communities

Encourages victim reporting of hate crimes; reduces fear in minority communities....police are willing and able to communicate effectively with minority communities; police can recommend practical measures to discourage and prevent hate-crime victimizationSome communities may distrust police initially
8Engaging educational institutions and the mass mediaMakes large
numbers of people
aware of hate-crime
problems and how
to respond to them
....educational institutions and mass media are willing to acknowledge and discuss the hate-crime problemMight require persuading decision-makers that hate crime is a problem worthy of special attention
Responses with Limited Effectiveness
9Treating hate crimes as regular crimesDeemphasizes the seriousness of the hate element and ignores the impact such crimes can have on the broader communityNot a promising strategyResearch establishes the unique nature of these crimes and the types of impact such crimes produce. Policies and approaches to deal with this issue are necessary