About United Against Hate Week – Nov 12 to 18, 2023

What is the difference between a Hate Crime and a Hate Incident?

First, for a historical perspective, read Barack Obama’s speech on the enactment of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009.  This act added crimes based on actual or perceived sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability (18 USC § 249). https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/the-press-office/remarks-president-reception-commemorating-enactment-matthew-shepard-and-james-byrd-

Next, here are some facts from the Berkeley Police Department’s Police Policy Manual. You will find Hate Crimes as Policy 319.1 on pages 173 to 177.  Following is an excerpt from the policy about the difference between a hate crime and a hate incident. Click the link for more information about characteristics and a short list of examples.


Excerpt: “ Many acts of hate violence fall under the category of a hate crime, which is punishable by law. However, not all hate incidents are hate crimes. For example, verbal name calling, although offensive, is not a crime and must be accompanied by a viable threat of violence and the ability to carry out the threat.

For a hate incident to be categorized as a hate crime, it must violate a criminal law. A hate crime might include threatening phone calls, physical assaults, destruction of property, bomb threats, and/or the disturbance of religious meetings.

A hate incident that does not constitute a hate crime might include hate speech, display of offensive materials on one’s property, the distribution of hate materials in public places, and the posting of hate materials that does not result in property damage. Even if a hate incident does not rise to the level of a hate crime, the victim will still need support and assistance and may have an actionable civil claim as well.”

Some occurrences can be reported online at the www.berkeleyca.gov website at “Safety & Health – Police”, others by phoning 911, and some by calling the non-emergency number.  There is also an Alameda County Hate Crime phone hotline through the District Attorney’s Office –  Hate Crime Hotline, 510-208-4824.  The DA’s Office works with Berkeley regarding  the report.

The Albany Police Department’s hate crime policy can be found in the Police Policy Manual as Policy 318 on pages 165 to 175. Albany cites Civil Codes as they relate to seeking justice for hate crimes or incidents. Here is the link:


Here is where you can report a crime online – otherwise call 911: https://www.albanyca.org/departments/police-department/contact-albany-police

Find Emeryville Police Department’s hate crime policy in the Police Policy Manual as Policy 322 on pages 190 to 199. Their policy discusses Bias Motivation as well as Freedom of Speech and is worth the read.  Here is the link:


Emeryville has an app that you can use to report stuff called SeeClickFix found by clicking on Report a Concern at the left sidebar at https://www.ci.emeryville.ca.us.  For now, there is a police and city phone (510) 596-3700 as well as 911; it will be possible  to report online soon.

The City of Berkeley is holding a Launch Event:  https://www.eventbrite.com/e/united-against-hate-week-launch-tickets-730675047737

Albany Events for the week: https://www.albanyca.org/our-city/social-equity-and-inclusion/united-against-hate

The LWVBAE is holding a zoom web event on Thursday, November 16, 2023 from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm.  They will be showing and discussing two short films, A Prosecutor’s Stand and San Leandro Stands United Against AAPI Hate. https://www.lwvbae.org/league-news/looking-to-participate-in-united-against-hate-week/

–C. Wenrich of the Criminal Justice Team


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