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Bias-Related Crimes (Hate Crimes) Data

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.

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

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