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Wednesday, March 3rd, 2021

Justice Department launches new hate crimes site, updates related prosecutions

© Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

In response to a series of violent hate crimes throughout the United States this year, the U.S. Department of Justice has updated its prosecution efforts and launched a new website to serve as a centralized port of resources for handling them.

These resources include training materials, technical assistance, videos, research, statistics and other information meant for law enforcement, media, researchers, victims, advocacy groups, and other related organizations. The department reports that in the past 10 years, more than 300 people have been charged with hate crimes offenses, including 50 since January 2017.

Some of these cases have dominated headlines, such as the recent shooting at the Tree of Life Jewish Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pa., where Robert Bowers killed 11 people while shouting anti-Semitic threats, or the case of Heather Heyers, killed by James Alex Fields Jr., a white supremacist attending the Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville, Va., last year.

A big part of combatting this particular crime relies on communication. In recent years, the Department has encouraged cooperation among those covering hate crimes in the field. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein also announced recently the approval of an $840,000 grant from the National Institute of Justice for a new research study on hate crimes data collection.

“Individuals should be able to live their lives free from the threat of violence and discrimination, no matter who they are, what they believe, or how they worship,” Acting Assistant Attorney General John Gore said.