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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.

Type of Bias 2011 2013 2013 2014 2015 2016 2016 YTD
(thru 6/30)
2017 YTD
(thru 6/30)
Ethnicity/National Origin 7 5 3 3 3 12 7 11
Race 28 13 18 13 19 14 9 17
Religion 2 6 6 8 5 18 8 9
Sexual Orientation 43 46 31 28 27 40 23 19
Gender Identity/Expression 11 9 12 15 10 19 8 8
Disability 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 0
Political Affiliation 0 1 0 1 2 2 0 5
Homelessness 1 0 0 2 0 1 1 0
Total 92 81 70 71 66 107 56 69


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. 

Additional Information Regarding Bias-Related Crime