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What Prosecutors and the Police Should Do About Underreporting of Anti-LGBTQ Hate Crime

NCJ Number
Sexuality Research and Social Policy Volume: 19 Dated: JUL 2021 Pages: 1190–1204
Neal A. Palmer; Besiki Luka Kutateladze
Date Published
July 2021

To address the problem of anti-LGBTQ hate crime underreporting, quantitative and qualitative data were collected in the Miami-Dade area including (a) prosecutorial case files from 2005 to 2019 and (b) semi-structured interviews with law enforcement practitioners (n = 10) and (c) structured interviews with LGBTQ crime victims (n = 400), carried out in 2018–2019.


Triangulated findings reveal that police and prosecutors lack the capacity to detect hate crimes and to engage with the LGBTQ community and crime victims. Victims and community members worried about retaliation and discounted some victim experiences as hate crimes. Responding to the research findings, a working group of 23 local stakeholders representing Miami’s LGBTQ community, advocacy groups, police, and prosecutor’s office produced seven recommendations addressing: (1) hate crime detection, (2) interagency coordination, (3) victim engagement, (4) communication and awareness building, (5) training of law enforcement practitioners, (6) data and research, and (7) changes to the hate crime statute. These recommendations offer a path forward for a more effective detection and prosecution of hate crimes. (Publisher Abstract)