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Preparing Police to Deal With Hate Crimes

NCJ Number
R W Lyles
Date Published
17 pages
The Novato, California, Police Department and community leaders banded together in response to a hate crime perpetrated against an Chinese American that involved assault.
The first concern was to ensure the victim did not feel alienated. The police department established a trusting relationship with the victim and the victim's family, and this had the collateral benefit of fostering cooperation during the legal prosecution of the case. The police department also recognized the need to provide reliable information to the public in a timely fashion. A community meeting was convened to discuss the case and its progress, and many community organizations attended to express their concern and to gather information. The Novato mayor created a multicultural task force to develop ways of preventing hate crimes and to suggest ways of increasing tolerance. In dealing with hate crimes, police departments in general should establish appropriate policies, provide training to police officers about hate crime issues, establish procedures for responding to and documenting hate crimes, communicate information on hate crimes up the police command chain, and offer appropriate victim assistance. Police officers and police managers should also stay current with evolving social issues related to hate crimes and recognize hate crimes affect not only the individual victim but also the entire community.