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Bias-Related Crimes (Hate Crimes) Data

Under the Bias-Related Crime Act of 1989 (D.C. Official Code § 22-3700 et. seq.), a bias-related, or hate, crime is a criminal act or attempted criminal act “that demonstrates an accused’s prejudice based on the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, personal appearance, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, family responsibility, homelessness, physical disability, matriculation, or political affiliation of a victim.”

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. In addition, a hate crime is not really a specific crime; it is a designation that makes available to the court an enhanced penalty. In short, a hate crime is not a crime, but a possible motive for a crime.

It can be difficult to establish a motive for a crime. Therefore, the classification as a hate crime is subject to change as an investigation proceeds – even as prosecutors continue an investigation. 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.

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.

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 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 YTD thru
6/30/18

YTD thru
6/30
/19

Ethnicity/National Origin 7 5 3 3 3 13 40 49 18 34
Race 28 13 17 13 19 13 47 39 21 24
Religion 2 5 5 8 5 17 11 12 4 2
Sexual Orientation 43 46 31 27 27 40 55 60 27 33
Gender Identity/Expression 11 9 12 15 10 19 13 34 11 12
Disability 0 1 0 1 0 1 1 0 0 1
Political Affiliation 0 1 0 1 2 2 10 10 2 0
Homelessness 1 0 0 2 0 1 0 1 0 0
Sex/Gender 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2
Total 92 80 68 70 66 106 177 205 83 108


NOTE: On March 22, 2019 an audit was conducted to identify offenses that have been unfounded. The following counts were removed from the data for the following years:

  • 2012: 1
  • 2013: 2
  • 2014: 1
  • 2015: 0
  • 2016: 1
  • 2017: 2
  • 2018: 4

Additional Information Regarding Bias-Related Crime