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Question

How are hate crimes defined and enforced in the United States?

Answer

Hate crime laws are enforced by state and local law enforcement in state and local courts. These laws vary greatly across jurisdictions. If a state or territory does not have hate crime laws, incidents can still be reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Hate crimes are defined as criminal acts motivated by bias or prejudice against a particular group of people based on their race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability. State and territorial hate crime laws are enforced by state and local law enforcement in state and local courts. Even if a state or territory does not have a hate crimes law, hate crimes can still be reported to the FBI. Hate crime victims can receive additional penalties, depending on the jurisdiction. The sensitivity of police in handling crime victims varies across jurisdictions as well. It is generally considered that police officers cannot be considered victims of crime when carrying out their duties. This is because they have acknowledged and accepted the dangers present in such a career.