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Using Research to Improve Hate Crime Reporting and Identification

NCJ Number
Police Chief Magazine Volume: Online Dated: September 2023
Date Published
September 2023

This article seeks to aid in communities' efforts to address hate crimes; it discusses the reasons for underreporting of hate crimes; it highlights research findings that provide insights into the causes of underreporting and under-identification of hate crimes; and offers policy and practice recommendations to improve how law enforcement agencies report and identify hate crimes.


A recent series of evidence-based research initiatives supported by the National Institute of Justice is helping to narrow this critical knowledge gap and illuminate a better path forward. The study findings fill in vital details on causes of hate crime underreporting in various communities, including hate crime victims' reluctance to engage with law enforcement; victims' and law enforcement agencies' inability to recognize certain victimizations as hate crimes; a very large deficit of hate crime reporting by law enforcement agencies of all sizes; and variations in hate crime definitions across jurisdictions. Knowledge gained from the NIJ-supported research on bias victimization and hate crime can strengthen hate crime recognition, reporting, and response.

Date Published: September 1, 2023