The American Indian Studies Center at the University of California, Los Angeles has launched an online interactive hate crime map to help track such incidents across the U.S. The new website is intended to supplement reporting on such crimes, both by inviting submissions from people who have experienced such crimes and by tracking published accounts from news sources.
The scope of hate crimes is difficult to quantify because definitions often vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, and incidents are widely underreported — in part because police departments may be reluctant to designate incidents as hate crimes.
The site enables users to hover over a U.S. state and view a total number of incidents along with breakdowns for the number of crimes that targeted the victim based on their race, religion, or sexual identity. It currently presents data from January 2017 through October 2020.
“Our purpose in working on the map is to empower our communities and raise awareness around the reality of hate speech and hate acts,” said Shannon Speed, director of the center, and a UCLA professor of anthropology and gender studies. “Ultimately, we hope it contributes to ending hate crimes against anyone. We know people of color have been victims of hate crimes for a long time, and we want to shine a light on this in a way that gives victims a means to share their experiences when they might otherwise not feel safe to do so.”