What is the definition of a hate crime?

Federal law, enacted in 1968, allows prosecution of a hate crime if it meets these two criteria:

The crime was motivated by racial or religious bias The crime was intended to keep a person from attending school, from voting or from another federally protected liberty

This law does not recognize hate crimes based on disability, gender or sexual orientation. However, current civil rights laws do allow for violent crimes to be prosecuted regardless of the specific motivation.

The American Psychological Associates (APA) defines hate crimes as violent acts against organizations, property or people based on the group they belong to or identify with.

Despite a crackdown on hate crimes, the Federal Bureau of Investigation saw an 8 percent increase between 2005 and 2006.

In 2006, nearly 8,000 hate crimes were committed. They ranked in this order: Anti-black, 2,640; anti-Jewish, 967; anti-white 890; anti-male homosexual, 747; anti-Hispanic, 576; anti-Islamic, 156; and anti-female homosexual, 163.

Hate crimes are considered to be message crimes, according to the APA. They are intended to make it clear that the targeted group is not liked and not welcome.


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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.