Hate Crime

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Hate Crime

Violence motivated by a bias against victims’ characteristics which include race, religion, ethnic background, national origin, gender, or sexual orientation, represents a serious threat to all communities. Experts estimate that a bias-related crime is committed every 14 minutes. Criminal justice officials and state policy makers need to realize that it is key to make or adjust hate crime legislation. This has been a heated debate for centuries. The key to solving the ever-growing problem of hate crimes is more hate crime legislation.

The first legislative efforts to address bias-related crimes, dated back to the late 19th century, which was a response to the expanding Ku Klux Klan and segregation in the south. Such laws included mandates against wearing masks and hoods. The next wave of legislation relating to hate crimes resulted from the movement for increased protection for civil rights in the face of widespread racial prejudice shown by segregated buildings and restricted access to public and private resources. The most recent legislation has been directed specifically to acts of hate against people of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, etc.

The Local Law Enforcement Enhancement Act, S. 625, also known as the

Hate Crime Prevention Act, if enacted would strengthen current law as it relates to hate crimes motivated by a victim’s race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability, etc. Hate crimes are not only destructive to the victims and their families, but damaging to the victims families and friends. It also is very damaging to our American ideals. America stands and shines for diversity and equality. In a way hate crimes are not only threatening to the individual being attacked but to America as a whole.

Last year, Congress had the chance to pass strong hate crimes legislation. On June 19,2000, the Local Law Enforcement Enhancement Act of 2000 was approved by the senate as an amendment to the defense authorization bill. People who act on hate need to know their punishment will be severe and harsh. Hate crimes threaten the safety of many citizens and in a way disrupts the entire communitie. Hate crimes can not be tolerated.

Hate crimes are a harsh reality in the United States. The reason it is so hard to come to a c...

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...t walking down the street and being themselves. The examples are endless. The fight against hate crimes on the national and local levels must get more aggressive. We, as a nation, must act now.

Under existing federal law, a person or group of convicted of crimes against someone who was targeted “ because of the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, gender, disability or sexual orientation” faces stiffer federal penalties than those provided under state law. The proposed legislation would eliminate the current requirement that the government prove the perpetrator’s intent. Instead, federal prosecutors could go after hate crimes without proving that the perpetrator was motivated by prejudice.

More hate crime legislation will help give victims increased protection, keep streets safer and increased punishment for vicious criminals who base their attacks on hate and bias. More hate crime legislation will give criminals who commit these terrible crimes the punishment they deserve, while it gives innocent victims the peace of mind to know that justice will be done. No matter what happens in Congress, 42 states are already prosecuting hate crimes.
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