Hate Crimes

AG Becerra's Quote on Hate Crimes

Crimes motivated by hate are not just attacks on individual innocent people – they are attacks on our communities and the entire State. It is the job of Attorney General Xavier Becerra to see that the laws of the State are uniformly and adequately enforced.

The California Department of Justice (Department) deploys tools and resources to aid and assist local, state, and federal law enforcement authorities in the investigation of possible hate crimes, including the identification, arrest, prosecution, and conviction of the perpetrators of those crimes. If you wish to report a crime, please file a report with the local police or sheriff's department.

Attorney General Becerra's Hate Crime Rapid Response Team

To ensure that the perpetrators of hate crimes are quickly identified and apprehended, Attorney General Xavier Becerra has updated the protocol for the Attorney General's Hate Crime Rapid Response Team. The team is composed of skilled law enforcement special agents and lawyers who are experts on handling civil rights issues.

The Attorney General's Hate Crime Rapid Response Team acts as a supplemental resource to local, state, and federal enforcement agencies' investigation and prosecution of hate crimes. They ensure local agencies have access to the full resources of the Department of Justice at their disposal. Attorney General Becerra believes that through a strong cooperative and team effort, state, local, and federal law enforcement agencies will be in the best position to quickly and decisively respond to the commission of a hate crime in California.

View the protocols: Protocol for Deployment of Department of Justice Resources

Hate Crimes Brochures

Hate Crime Brochure

The Attorney General has developed a brochure with information on how to identify and report hate crimes and the services available to victims of hate crimes.

The hate crimes brochure is available in nine languages: English, Arabic, Armenian, Chinese, Hindi, Korean, Punjabi, Spanish, Vietnamese. The brochures can be downloaded, printed and shared online.

What Californians Need to Know to Protect Themselves and Others

A hate incident is an action or behavior motivated by hate but legally protected by the First Amendment right to freedom of expression.

Examples of hate incidents include:

  • name-calling,
  • insults,
  • distributing hate material in public places, and
  • displaying hate material on your own property.

The U.S. Constitution allows hate speech as long as it does not interfere with the civil rights of others. If a hate incident starts to threaten a person or property, it may become a hate crime. A hate crime is a crime against a person, group, or property motivated by the victim's real or perceived protected social group. The law protects against many classes of hate crimes.

Here are signs of a possible hate crime:

  • The criminal chose the victim or property because they belonged to a protected group, like a certain religion or gender.
    • The criminal made written or verbal comments showing a prejudice.
    • The crime happened on a date that is important for the victim's protected group.
    • There is a lot of organized hate activity in the area.

  • If you are a hate crime victim, you should:
    • Contact the local police or sheriff right away!
    • Get medical attention (if you need it).
    • Write down the exact words that were said.
    • Make notes about any other facts so you don't forget them.
    • Save all evidence (e.g., graffiti, egg shells, writing on victim's vehicle). If safe, wait until law enforcement arrives and takes photos.
    • Get the names, addresses, phone numbers, and emails of other victims and witnesses.
    • Try to get a description from any eyewitnesses of the criminal or the vehicle.
    • Call community organizations in your area that respond to hate crimes.

The California Victims' Bill of Rights Act – Marsy's Law – gives you these important legal rights:

  • Get money for your losses
    Apply for money to cover your property losses, medical expenses, lost wages, and other losses.
  • Say how the crime impacted you
    Tell the court how the crime impacted your life before the defendant is sentenced.
  • Get information about the criminal case
    Ask the prosecutor for certain information about the case.
  • Get orders from the court
    The court can make orders that could help you, such as a protective order to keep the defendant away from you or an order to pay attorney fees if you hired a lawyer to help with your case.
    The court may also order the defendant to pay you $25,000 or more for violating your civil rights. (Talk to a lawyer about your rights under the Ralph Act and the Bane Act.)
  • Speak out against hate and intolerance.
  • Have community rallies to support victims.
  • Offer support and help to victims.
  • Ask public officials to speak out against hate crimes.
  • Establish a hate crime network that includes law enforcement, local government, schools, religious organizations and community organizations. Ask them to respond to hate crimes immediately when they happen and to promote prevention and awareness.

Every year, thousands of bias-motivated acts, commonly-referred to as "hate crimes" or "hate incidents" are committed across America. Generally, any criminal act motivated by a specific bias against a victim's actual or perceived protected characteristic is a hate crime. A bias-motivated act that does not rise to the level of a crime is called a "hate incident." Hate crimes are prosecuted by city attorneys and district attorneys under California's penal code, while hate incidents can be the subject of civil lawsuits under California's civil code.

For more information please visit: https://oag.ca.gov/civil/preveduc

California Attorney General's
Victims' Services Unit
(877) 433-9069
TTY: (800) 735-2929
www.oag.ca.gov/victimservices

California Department of Fair Employment and Housing
(800) 884-1684
TTY: (800) 700-2320
www.dfeh.ca.gov

California Victim Compensation Board
(800) 777-9229
www.vcgcb.ca.gov

Find Your Local District Attorney's Office,
Victim/Witness Assistance Center
www.vcgcb.ca.gov/victims/localhelp.aspx

U.S. Department of Justice, Community Relations Services
(202) 305-2935
www.justice.gov/crs

For more information, or help with questions or concerns, contact:
California Attorney General's Office Victims' Services Unit
P.O. Box 944255
Sacramento, CA 94244-2550
(877) 433-9069
www.oag.ca.gov/victimservices

The Attorney General issued an information bulletin to law enforcement agencies across California, outlining state laws that prohibit hate crimes and other hate-related acts.

The bulletin is designed to ensure that state and local law enforcement officials across California have the necessary information and tools to respond appropriately and swiftly to hate crime activity.

To view the latest bulletin visit: FINAL-BULLETIN-HATE-CRIMES-LAWS-IB-DLE2018-03.pdf

The California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) has developed guidance and a model policy framework to assist law enforcement in identifying and handling crimes motivated by hate and bias and to help ensure accurate and timely reporting of hate crimes.

http://lib.post.ca.gov/Publications/hate_crimes.pdf

Annual Hate Crimes Report

The Attorney General publishes an annual Hate Crime in California Report assessing the number of hate crime events, hate crime offenses, hate crime victims, and hate crime suspects.

The 2016 report highlights hate crime trends, including the most common types of hate crimes broken down by protected class, as well as by county and city. The Report puts these statistics in historical perspective by providing trend information on the number and types of hate crimes over the past ten years. More information, including an analysis of the number and types of hate crimes over the past decade, can be found on the Attorney General's OpenJustice website.

Hate Crime in California Report 2016

Hate Crime in California

This is an annual report regarding crimes motivated by the victim's race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation or physical or mental disability as reported by law enforcement agencies.

2017 Report 2016 Report 2015 Report