Hate Crimes

Detailed Information And Resources

A hate crime is any criminal act or attempted criminal act directed against a person or persons based on the victim’s actual or perceived race, nationality, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability or gender.

Examples of hate crimes include:

Acts which result in injury, even if the injury is slight.

Threats of violence that looks like they can be carried out.

Acts which result in property damage.

Any criminal act or attempted criminal act, including property damage, directed against individuals, public or private agencies.


Hate incidents are similar to hate crimes in that the act is directed against a person or persons based on the victim’s actual or perceived race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, political affiliation, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, disability, or position in a labor dispute. The difference between a hate incident and a hate crime is that a hate incident is not a criminal act. Examples of hate incidents include:

Offensive materials such as hate flyers placed in mailboxes or thrown on lawns.

Hate materials, not resulting in property damage, such as demeaning caricatures depicting a racial, ethnic or a religious group.

Hate graffiti in public places not directed against a specific target such as an epithet on a vacant building.


All kinds of people, from all segments of our society commit hate crimes and participate in hate incidents. They include:

Individuals acting on their own.

Certain young people who may be out seeking thrills or to shock other community members.

Members of organized groups that promote hatred and racism.

Both majority and minority group members commit and are victims of hate crimes.


People who commit hate crimes or are involved in hate incidents have many objectives, all of which are destructive. These objectives include the following:

They wish to establish separate states based on race or ethnic origin.

They wrongly blame other groups for social problems, including crime, high taxes and unemployment.

They believe racial bloodlines should not mix. Some wish to create a pure race through genetic engineering.

They believe their own group should have the advantage in areas such as employment, housing and religious practices.

Hate crimes and involvement in hate incidents serve as an outlet for their personal rage and anger.


The victims of hate crime and hate incidents may be singled out because of the following:

Hate crimes and hate incidents are frequently directed at nonwhites, however, whites are victims too. Targets most often include African Americans, Hispanics, Asians and people from the Middle East.

Some people are victimized because of their country of origin.

Other victims are singled out because of their religious or political beliefs.

Gays and lesbians are also victimized because of their sexual orientation.

Violence and discrimination against women is often a result of the mistaken view that women are inferior to men.

People who have AIDS, or who are physically or mentally disabled are harassed or discriminated against because of their condition.


The victims, their families and friends can suffer serious personal, financial, and emotional losses, as a result of a hate crime or a hate incident. Hate crime and hate incidents can divide neighborhoods and communities by raising levels of fear and suspicion, and lowering openness and cooperation. Hate crimes, hate incidents and racist behaviors are direct threats to the principles of democracy and equality. People who are involved in hate crimes and hate incidents are often unhappy, easily swayed and mixed-up emotionally. Many have had few, if any, successes in life. Bias, bigotry, intolerance and participation in hate crime and hate incidents serve as an outlet for their frustrations. They are easily taken in by the persuasive talk of hate groups. Their involvement in hate prevents them from meeting new challenges and taking positive steps toward leading more productive and fulfilling lives.


The LAPD has long recognized the serious nature of crimes and incidents motivated by hatred and is one of the first law enforcement agencies in the nation to establish specialized procedures for the handling of hate crimes and hate incidents. In addition to a designated LAPD Hate Crime Coordinator of the rank of Commander, detectives are also designated as hate crime coordinators in each of the geographic Area Community Police Stations of the LAPD. In 1997, the Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners established a Hate Crimes Task Force consisting of members of the LAPD and representatives from community organizations such as the Asian Pacific Legal Center, Anti-Defamation League, Los Angeles LGBT Center and the Simon Wiesenthal Center. The task force members focused on the need to revise hate crime procedures, including the need to raise the level of command accountability within the ranks of the LAPD.


Hate crimes can be prosecuted either as misdemeanors (lesser offenses) or felonies (more serious offenses), depending on the severity of the acts committed. Hate crimes can be prosecuted, and hate incidents are tracked by the LAPD. Hate crimes and hate incidents not only affect the victim they affect all of society. Hate crimes and hate incidents strike at the very heart of our society. Our country, constitution, and national character are based on the rights and needs of the individual. Hate crimes and hate incidents directly attack those founding principles, breeding fear, distrust and uncertainty in the community. Historically, hate crimes have been underreported; thus, many are not prosecuted. The LAPD, Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office and the U.S. Attorney’s Office are committed to apprehending and prosecuting perpetrators of hate crimes and preventing hate incidents.


Respect diversity at work and in your community. The more you learn and know about different cultures and traditions the richer your life will be. It is also important to work with children to dispel racist myths. Seize opportunities to counter bigoted views, for example, when they arise in news stories or television programs or when someone tells an ethnic joke. Additionally, support the efforts of the community to fight hate crimes and hate incidents through programs and projects on cultural diversity, human relations and conflict resolution. Promote the sharing of cultural events and holidays.


For information on personal security, please visit our Web site and go to Crime Prevention Tips, and go to the circular entitled personal security.


The California Penal Code Section 422.6 (a) states the following:

“No person, whether or not acting under color of law, shall by force or threat of force, willfully injure, intimidate, interfere with, oppress, or threaten any other person in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him or her by the Constitution or laws of this state or by the Constitution or laws of the United States because of the other person’s race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, disability, gender, or sexual orientation, or because he or she perceives that the other person has one or more of those characteristics”

The California Civil Code Section 51.7 states the following:

“All persons within the jurisdiction of this State have the right to be free from any violence, or intimidation by threat of violence, committed against their persons or property because of their race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, political affiliation, sex, sexual orientation, age, disability, or position in a labor dispute. Anyone who violates the right provided by Section 51.7 is liable for each and every offense for the actual damages suffered by any person determined by a court of law. Damages shall be paid by the offender to the victim as follows:

Up to a maximum of three times the amount of the actual damages.

A civil penalty of ten thousand dollars.

The attorney’s fee, as may be determined by the court.


Victims of hate crime may be eligible for some crime related losses through the California Victim Compensation Program, including:

Medical treatment;

Psychological counseling; and


For information call: Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Victim-Witness Assistance Program at 213-974-7499 or 800-380-3811.

Anyone who has had monetary or property loss because of the criminal act of another has the right to sue them for those monetary losses. If you are considering filing a civil lawsuit, you should contact a civil attorney right away.


Call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest LAPD community police station.


You are encouraged to contact the LAPD toll free hotline or the We Tip Hotline. Public cooperation is often essential in solving hate crimes.

LAPD Toll Free Hotline (877) LAWFULL (877-529-3835)

We Tip Hotline 800-782-7463

Los Angeles Police Hate Crime Coordinator:

Robbery Homicide Division

Hate Crime Coordinator 213-486-6840

Hollywood Area

1358 N. Wilcox Avenue

Hollywood 90028

Olympic Area

1130 S. Vermont Ave.

Los Angeles 90006


Wilshire Area

4861 W. Venice Boulevard

Los Angeles 90019



Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office

Special Victims Unit 213-978-8040

Hate Crimes Division 213-257-2385

Los Angeles County District Attorney

Target Crimes Division 213-974-3798

U. S. Attorney’s Office

Civil Rights Unit 213-894-2879


Anti-Defamation League 800-446-2684 or 310-446-8000

Asian Pacific American Legal Center (English, Chinese, Korean, Tagalog and Vietnamese languages spoken) 213-977-7500

Coalition of Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA) (Spanish and English languages spoken) 213-353-1333

Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) 213-626-4471

L. A. Gay and Lesbian Center Anti-Violence Project 800-373-2227 or 323-993-7676

Los Angeles Urban League 323-299-9660

Simon Wiesenthal Center 310-553-8403

Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) 323-258-6722

National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) 323-938-5268

Lambda Legal (Los Angeles) 213-382-7600

Transgender Law Center (Oakland) 510-587-9696

Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office LGBTQ Outreach and Advocacy Program: 213-978-4537

High Tech Can Help Us Stop Crime

One of our best lines of defense against crime is the License Plate Reader Campaign (LPR). Please join the initiative