The Justice Department recently released information regarding its plans to fight the rise of hate crimes in America.
In a press release, the DOJ said it will be the first year the annual hate crimes statistics are reported entirely through the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS). Although NIBRS collects significantly more detailed data for each individual criminal incident, many of the nation’s law enforcement agencies have yet to fully make the transition to NIBRS. DOJ says they’re committed to assisting and supporting agencies as they transition to the NIBRS system, including allocating over $120 million in grants to support.
“The Justice Department is committed to prioritizing prevention, investigation, and prosecution of hate crimes, said Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta. “The FBI’s 2021 Hate Crimes Statistics are a reminder of the need to continue our vigorous efforts to address this pervasive issue in America.”
The Justice Department also gave a detailed list of things done in the past two years to combat a rise in hate crimes and hate incidents in the United States.
One of these actions was aggressively investigating and prosecuting hate crimes. The department said, since January 2021, it charged more than 60 defendants in over 55 different cases and secured more than 55 convictions of defendants.
The department also designated a Deputy Associate Attorney General as the Justice Department’s first-ever Anti-Hate Crimes Resources Coordinator and hired staff to serve in the role of facilitating the expedited review of hate crimes.
The DOJ also announced that over the next year, all 94 U.S. Attorneys’ Offices will host a United Against Hate program to help improve the reporting of hate crimes by teaching community members how to identify, report, and help prevent hate crimes, and to provide an opportunity for trust-building between law enforcement and communities.
The DOJ will also be:
- Elevating civil rights violations and hate crimes enforcement for prioritization among the FBI’s 56 field offices;
- Designating at least one Assistant U.S. Attorney as a Civil Rights Coordinator in every U.S. Attorneys’ Office;
- Facilitating FBI-hosted regional conferences across the country with state and local law enforcement agencies regarding federal civil rights and hate crimes laws to encourage reporting, strengthen relationships between law enforcement and local civil rights organizations, and build trust within the diverse communities they serve;
- Launching an FBI-led National Anti-Hate Crimes Campaign involving all 56 FBI field offices to encourage reporting. The campaign includes outdoor advertising, billboards, and radio streaming in addition to social media;
- Revitalizing the Community Relations Service by, among other things, facilitating nearly a dozen Protecting Places of Worship forums to provide interfaith communities with resources and information on securing their places of worship, and to help faith leaders build relationships with law enforcement;
- Adding information to the department’s website on reporting hate crimes in 24 languages, including 18 of the most frequently spoken AAPI languages in the United States;
- Awarding close to $12 million in grant funding through programs to state and local partners to investigate and prosecute hate crimes and assist hate crime victims, including through the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Program to support state, local and Tribal law enforcement and prosecution agencies in their efforts to investigate and prosecute hate crimes, and in their outreach to and education of the public, victims and others on hate crimes;
- With the Department of Education, issuing facts sheets addressing harassment and discrimination in school, including harassment based on COVID-19-related issues, harassment of LGBTQI+ students, and discrimination based on national origin and immigration status.
“No one in this country should be forced to live their life in fear of being attacked because of what they look like, whom they love, or where they worship,” said Gupta. “The department will continue to use all of the tools and resources at our disposal to stand up to bias-motivated violence in our communities.”
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