A hate crime is any criminal act or attempted criminal act directed against a person based on the victim’s actual or perceived race, nationality, religion, gender, disability, or sexual orientation. A hate incident is a non-criminal act committed against a person or property based on a person's actual or perceived race, nationality, religion, gender, disability, or sexual orientation.
While the District strives to reduce crime for all residents of and visitors to the city, hate crimes can make a particular community feel vulnerable and more fearful. This is unacceptable, and is the reason everyone must work together not just to address allegations of hate crimes, but also to proactively educate the public about hate crimes. As part of this effort, the Metropolitan Police Department provides data on bias-related or hate crimes in the District on its webpage monthly as well as an annual report highlighting trends in these crimes and efforts to address them.
It is important for the community to understand what is – and is not – a hate crime. First and foremost, the incident must be a crime. Although that may seem obvious, most speech is not a hate crime, regardless of how offensive it may be. Moreover, a hate crime is not really a specific crime; rather it is a designation that makes available to the court an enhanced penalty if a crime demonstrates the offender’s prejudice or bias based on the actual or perceived traits of the victim. In short, a hate crime is not a crime, but rather a possible motive for a crime. Needless to say, it can be difficult to establish a motive for a crime, and even more difficult for prosecutors to prove it in court beyond a reasonable doubt. Therefore, the classification as a bias-related crime is subject to change as an investigation proceeds – even as prosecutors continue an investigation.
NOTE: If a person is found guilty of a hate crime, the court may fine the offender up to 1½ times the maximum fine and imprison him or her for up to 1½ times the maximum term authorized for the underlying crime. D.C. Official Code § 22-3703.
|Type of Bias||2013||2014||
|Ethnicity /National Origin||3||3||2||0||-100%|
|Gender Identity / Expression||12||15||15||8||-47%|
1) All figures are subject to change if new information is revealed during the course of an investigation or prosecution.
2) The figures above comply with DC Official Code 22-3700. Because the DC statute differs from the FBI Uniform Crime Reporting definitions, and includes categories not included in the FBI definitions, these figures may higher than those reported to the FBI.
3) Under DC Official Code, there are two distinct classifications for crimes motivated by a bias against sexual orientation and a bias based on gender identity or expression. MPD began reporting these categories separately in 2009. For comparison purposes, the figures reported under sexual orientation While the total crimes reported for sexual orientation and gender identity / expression accurately reflects the data as of the date of the report, the categorization is subject to change during this review process.
Additional Information Regarding Bias-Related Crime
- The 2014 report on Bias-Related Crimes in the District of Columbia may be viewed in the 2014 Annual Report (page 44) [PDF]
- The 2013 report on Bias-Related Crimes in the District of Columbia may be viewed in the 2013 Annual Report (page 44) [PDF]
- The 2012 report on Bias-Related Crimes in the District of Columbia may be viewed in the 2012 Annual Report (page 47) [PDF]
- The 2011 report on Bias-Related Crimes in the District of Columbia may be viewed in the 2011 Annual Report (page 46) [PDF]
See the section on Bias-Related Crimes from the 2010 Annual Report (page 22) [PDF]
Download the Feb. 2010 report: "Bias-Related Crime in the District of Columbia" [PDF]
See the section on Bias-Related Crimes from the 2009 Annual Report (page 26) [PDF]
Download the Nov. 2009 report: "Bias-Related Crime in the District of Columbia" [PDF]