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U.S. Hate Crime Investigation Rates and Characteristics: Findings from the National Hate Crime Investigations Study (NHCIS)

NCJ Number
Date Published
December 2021
29 pages

This National Hate Crime Investigation Study (NHCIS) is the first study to collect detailed data on hate-crime investigations by a nationally representative sample of law enforcement agencies across the United States.



A random sample of 2,488 local, county, and state law enforcement agencies, stratified by agency type and size, were surveyed about the number of offenses identified as hate crimes by their agencies between January 1, 2018 and December 31, 2018. Case-level surveys captured extensive data on 1,230 hate-crime events, suspects, investigative strategies, and outcomes. The most common category of hate crime investigated by law enforcement agencies involved the targeting of victims because of their race/ethnicity and were most often anti-Black crimes. Anti-Hispanic/Latino incidents, anti-Jewish/anti-Semitic incidents, and anti-gay incidents were also common. Suspects were typically white, adult males. In about half of the incidents, the suspect was not known by the victim; however, only 23 percent of participating agencies reported any hate-crime investigations. Even among the 792 large agencies included in the sample, only 45 percent reported one or more hate-crime investigations in 2018. Findings of this study can facilitate improvement in the identification, documentation, and reporting of hate crimes by U.S. law enforcement agencies. The findings also highlight some strategies that law enforcement agencies can use to improve hate-crime investigations and their response to community factors linked to these crimes. 10 tables and 33 references

Date Published: December 1, 2021