Hate crimes are a felony offense. A hate crime is a type of crime committed against a person, property, or society that was motivated in part or in whole by bias, prejudice, or bigotry against a certain perceived sexual orientation, race, color, ethnicity, religion, creed, gender, disability, ancestry, or national origin. Even misdemeanor crimes, such as theft, trespassing, damage to property, or disorderly conduct can be charged as felonies if there was a biased motivation.
Missouri provides enhanced penalties for motivational factors in certain crimes. To know which crimes are associated with the penalty, refer to this statute.
To read the most recent report on hate crime in Missouri, refer to this 2013 document.
What should you do if you are a victim of a hate crime?
- Seek medical attention if necessary.
- Write down all of the details as soon as possible – Include things like the perpetrator(s) gender, age, height, race, weight, clothes, and other distinguishing characteristics. If any threats or biased comments were made, include them in your report.
- File a report –
- Police report
- Make sure to get the responding officer’s name and badge number
- Make sure an incident report was filed and ask for a copy.
- Encourage the officer to report it as a hate crime.
- FBI report
- The FBI takes a high priority position on investigating hate crimes as part of their Civil Rights program, contact your local department after filing a police report.
- Notify a local community organization about what happened
- Various religious, race, LGBTQ, gender, etc., organizations can help you navigate what to do after an incident.
- Police report
If you see a hate crime being perpetrated, intervene if safe to do so or call the police. Don’t let people bring down the quality of your neighborhood, state, or country with bigotted or racist acts. It is a pretty tense time in America right now, but we should use it as an opportunity to come together and help one another.
Information was gathered from the Human Rights Campaign website and the FBI website.
Abby Orscheln – Safety and Security Intern