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Definitions of Hate Crimes and Hate/Bias Incidents Info

According to the California Penal Code, hate crimes are defined as "a criminal act committed, in whole or in part, because of one or more of the following actual or perceived characteristics of the victim":

  • Disability
  • Gender
  • Nationality
  • Race or ethnicity
  • Religion
  • Sexual orientation
  • Association with a person or group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics

It is important to be able to differentiate between hate incidents and hate crimes.

hate incident is an action or behavior that is motivated by hate, but is protected by the First Amendment Right to freedom of speech. Examples of hate incidents can include: name calling, epithets, distribution of hate material in public places, and the display of offensive hate-motivated material on one’s own property.

The freedoms guaranteed by the U.S. constitution, such as the freedom of speech, allow hateful rhetoric as long as it does not interfere with the civil rights of others. If this type of behavior escalates to threats or criminal activity against a person or property, then it would be classified as a hate crime.

hate crime is a criminal act, or attempted criminal act committed against a person or his/her property because the person is, or is perceived to be, a member of a protected class.

Hate crimes should be reported to the CSU, Chico Police Department.

If these hate crimes are not reported to law enforcement, the perpetrators will continue to act on their beliefs and continue to pose a threat to society.

  • Verbal or written threats 
  • Physical assault or attempted assault
  • Vandalism or property damage, including graffiti

The following are indicators that a hate crime may have been committed:

  • Perception by the victim that he/she was selected by the perpetrator because of his/her membership in a protected class.
  • Written or oral comments by the perpetrator that may indicate a bias.
  • Date of incident coincides with a day that is of significance to the victim’s protected class.
  • Differences between the race or religion, for example, of the victim and the perpetrator.
  • Organized hate group activity in the area.

You have certain rights under the California Constitution’s Victims' Bill of Rights. For example, you may be entitled to information about the prosecution of the perpetrator, and you may have the right to present a victim impact statement at the time of sentencing. You may also be entitled to restitution for any loss, damage, or injury that you incurred.