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Stopping Hate Crime: A Case History From the Sacramento Police Department

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 1997
4 pages
Based on its experience in investigating hate crime, the Sacramento (California) police investigators and their federal, state, and local task-force partners offer recommendations to assist other law enforcement agencies and their communities in countering hate crime.
Between July and October 1993, four arsons and three attempted arsons were committed by self-proclaimed white separatists in Sacramento. Targets of the arsons included a Jewish temple, the local office of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the Japanese American Citizens League, and the State Office of Fair Employment and Housing. The Sacramento Police Department (SPD) determined that the investigative resources for these linked crimes had to be managed by an official task force on hate crime, under the direction of a strong local command. The task force developed a response plan that included surveillance of potential targets and the deployment of tactical field teams for the investigation of new crimes and the capture of fleeing suspects. Sixteen recommendations that evolved from the work of this task force are outlined in this report. They resulted from the pitfalls and successes of the task force, which consisted of SPD investigators and their federal, state, and local task-force partners. The recommendations include the training of every patrol officer in recognizing hate crimes, the establishment of a multiagency task force in areas where hate crime occurs, federal funding for a vehicle that permits close yet covert surveillance of hate-crime suspects and a geographical information system as a visual aid for tactical planning, and the strategic use of multiple information systems and informed resident observations in the development of investigative leads.