About Hate Crimes

What is a Hate Crime?

A hate crime is an offense that is motivated in whole or substantial part by a belief or perception of a person’s, a group’s or a place’s identification with a particular, "race, color, national origin, ancestry, gender, gender identity or expression, religion, religious practice, age, disability, or sexual orientation." 

Hate crimes are subject to enhanced penalties because they have a different, greater impact. Hate crimes send a message to hate crime survivors that they have been targeted because of their personal identity. Not only does the individual survivor suffer, but the community that shares the survivor’s characteristics can also be impacted. 

Hate crimes can also target the individual for multiple aspects of their complex identity, since characteristics, beliefs, and other facets intersect (e.g., someone can be targeted for being both openly gay and Muslim.) 

Hate crimes are underreported by the public, especially by vulnerable communities, for many reasons.

Download the 'What Is A Hate Crime' guide.

Guide also available in Arabic, Bengali, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), French, Haitian-Creole, Hebrew, Hindi, Japanese, Korean, Nepali, Polish, Punjabi, Russian, Spanish, Tagalog, Tamil, Thai, Tibetan, Urdu, Vietnamese, Yiddish


Laws Defining Hate Crimes

Local Laws on Hate Crimes

Read Local Law 46 (2019)
Read Local Law 47 (2019)
Read Local Law 49 (2020)


State Laws on Hate Crimes

Read Section 485.05 of New York State penal law
Read Section 240.31 of New York State penal law

Read the Hate Crimes Analysis and Review Act
Read S.4615A/A.5402A

Federal Laws on Hate Crimes

Read the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act of 2021
Read the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr., Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009
Read the Hate Crime Statistics Act of 1990
Read the Title I of the Civil Rights Act of 1968



Information on Hate Symbols

Hate crimes are not limited to violent or physical attacks. Hateful symbols can also create pain and fear within vulnerable communities. In New York, some hate-motivated symbols can result in hate crime charges in addition to the underlying committed crime.

Read more about Information on Hate Symbols