Reporting Hate Crimes

Hatred Hurts Everyone!

Hate crimes are illegal, unacceptable, and hurt all in the community. No one should threaten or assault you based upon bias. The Olympia Police Department pledges to vigorously investigate hate crimes and to work towards removing barriers to reporting of these crimes.

How Do I Report a Hate Crime?

If you have been the victim of a hate crime, know of, or have witnessed a hate crime, please report it immediately by calling 911.

Helpful actions you can take:
• Identify witnesses to the crime and encourage them to help the police document what happened.
• Help the police preserve evidence of the crime: document your injuries; provide us with a medical release if you sought medical treatment; give a full account of what happened; provide a description of people, vehicles and weapons if they were used; remember what was said by the perpetrator.
• For more information about Hate Crimes, please call the Olympia Police Department at 360-753-8300 or contact us at olympiapolice@ci.olympia.wa.us

Hate Crimes are illegal

What Is a Hate Crime?
A person is guilty of malicious harassment if he or she maliciously and intentionally commits one of the following acts because of his or her perception of the victim's race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, or mental, physical, or sensory handicap:

(a) Causes physical injury to the victim or another person;

(b) Causes physical damage to or destruction of the property of the victim or another person; or

(c) Threatens a specific person or group of persons and places that person, or members of the specific group of persons, in reasonable fear of harm to person or property.

Malicious harassment is a class C felony. (RCW 9A.36.080 - Malicious Harassment)

In Olympia, the Olympia Municipal Code has enhanced penalties under its Crimes Against Persons ordinance for crimes that may not rise to the Felony level:

If the court finds that the accused committed any crime under this chapter of the Olympia Municipal Code and if the court receives sufficient evidence that the acts committed leading to that finding were intentionally targeted against the victim or victims in substantial part because of the victim’s or victims’ race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, his/her/their mental, physical or sensory disability, or the accused’s perception thereof, the court shall impose a minimum fine of not less than five hundred dollars and a minimum jail sentence of not less than five days for each such offense. Neither the mandatory minimum jail sentence nor the mandatory minimum fine shall be suspended or deferred, nor shall the jail sentence be served by alternative means. (Olympia Municipal Code 9.20.090 - Hate crimes penalty)

Examples of hate crimes

• Physical attack
• Destruction of property
• Cross burnings
• Arson
• Vandalism
• Telephone harassment
• Painting swastikas and other hate symbols
• Cemetery desecration
• Firebombing of residences, businesses, and church

Why Hate Crimes Should Be Reported

A person who commits a hate crime cannot be brought to justice and held accountable for his or her acts if the crime is not reported. In addition, collecting accurate data on the number of hate crimes is one of the only ways in which police, prosecutors, elected officials, and community organizations can determine the extent of the problem of hate crimes in our community.

Why Hate Crimes Must Be Stopped

Unlike other crimes that target individuals, bias-related crimes have a tremendous effect on an entire community. When one person is targeted because of his or her race, religion, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, or other characteristic, others in the community who were not the direct targets of the hate crime may also feel at risk. Tensions between different communities can also arise as a result of hate crimes.