What is a Hate Crime/Incident?

What is a Hate Crime?

A hate crime is any criminal act or attempted criminal act directed against a person(s) based on the victim's actual or perceived race, nationality, religion, gender, disability, or sexual orientation.


  • Any act which results in serious injury
    Physical Assault, Major

    Example: Pomona, CA. Monday, Sept 17, 2001
    A Muslim-American woman in religious clothing was shopping at Albertson's when a Caucasian woman attacked her and yelled, "America is only for white people!" The victim was taken to emergency.

  • Any act which results in injury even if the injury is slight
    Physical Assault, Minor

    Example: Canoga Park, CA: October 2004
    A group of Hispanic adolescents mocked an Afghani Muslim woman about her background. She was verbally assaulted with language like, "F*** you" and physically assaulted and slightly injured at her apartment complex.

  • Any threat of violence that may be able to be carried out
    Threat of Violence

    Example: Los Angeles, CA: September 4, 2003
    A Bangladeshi taxi driver was threatened by a middle-aged male who yelled derogatory comments at him, including, "Get out of this country you f****** Arab, f****** Mohammad..." The perpetrator pulled up next to him, got out of his vehicle and threatened to physically harm the victim.

  • Commission of Arson
    Mosque Arson

    Example: A 2100 square-foot facility used as a mosque and burial preparation for Muslims throughout San Bernardino County was found burned to ashes at 4:30 AM. Two male teenagers were arrested for vandalizing the remains of the mosque and cemetery, and on suspicion of the arson.

  • Any act which results in property damage
    Desecration of Religious Symbol

    Example: A Malaysian Muslim woman purchased the "New Translation of the Quran" from Amazon.com. Scrawled on the inside cover was "F*** this Shi*" and "Death to All Muslims." Due to MPAC's diligence, the FBI opened a hate crime investigation.

What is a Hate Incident?

A hate incident is an act directed against a person(s) based on their actual or perceived race, nationality, religion, gender, disability, or sexual orientation. The difference between a hate incident and a hate crime is that a hate incident is a non-criminal act.


  • Circulating offensive materials such as a hate e-mail or hate flyers without damaging property or threatening violence
    Hate Mail

    Example: Los Angeles, CA: February 2005
    An elderly white male sent hate mail to numerous Asian and Muslim businesses and organizations that threatened to "Kill Chinese!" and "Kill Iranian Terrorists!" One storeowner received a threatening document with the picture of a neighboring Iranian travel agent, and the words, "Iranian (Persian) Lawyers bring Muslim Terrorists to L.A. / U.S.A!"

  • Posting hate materials that do not result in property such as caricatures depicting a racial, ethnic or religious group
    In Business

    Example: Santa Monica, CA: September 28, 2004
    A store in Santa Monica displayed highly offensive signs with statements such as "Palestinians are God-less freaks whose only religion is violence and hatred and they are truly a cursed, diseased heard of freaks."

  • Displaying hate graffiti in public places, which is NOT directed at a specific individual or group, such as an epithet on a vacant building
    Public Graffiti

    Example: Santa Monica, CA: May 24, 2005
    Graffiti was found scrawled over a mural, owned by the city of Santa Monica that said "Kill all the Muslims."

  • Making derogatory comments that lack the threat of violence
    In the Classroom

    Example: Alhambra, CA: June 2003
    Following the invasion of Iraq, a twelve year old (half Iranian, half Assyrian) girl was interrogated by a few female classmates. Once she answered Iran, and explained that it was close to Afghanistan, the classmates made derogatory comments, such as, "I hate those places ... they're full of towel heads."

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