Reporting Hate Crimes and Hate Incidents

The Irvine Police Department (IPD) is committed to the safety of all community members and encourages tolerance and respect for diversity at all times. IPD vigorously investigates and documents all hate crimes and hate incidents that occur within the City of Irvine.

If you are the victim of a hate crime or hate incident, please call 949-724-7200, or 9-1-1 in case of an emergency.

You may also report hate crimes and hate incidents directly to the Orange County Human Relations hotline at 714-480-6580, or go to their website at www.ochumanrelations.org.

What is a Hate Crime?

California’s hate crime laws are codified in Penal Code Sections 422.55, 422.6, 422.7, and 422.75.

California Penal Code 422.55 defines a hate crime as a criminal act committed, in whole or in part, because of one or more of the following actual or perceived characteristics of the victim. This includes:

  • Disability
  • Gender
  • Nationality
  • Race or ethnicity
  • Religion
  • Sexual orientation
  • Association with a person or group of persons with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics

Criminal acts include, but are not limited to:

  • Vandalism
  • Physical violence against the person of another
  • Criminal threats
  • Theft

What is a Hate Incident?

Hate incidents are defined by the California Department of Justice as “an action or behavior motivated by hate, but legally protected by the First Amendment right to freedom of expression. If a hate incident starts to threaten a person or property, it may become a hate crime.”

Examples of hate incidents include, but are not limited to:

  • Name-calling, including racial slurs or other derogatory terminology
  • Insults
  • Distributing hate material in public places
  • Displaying hate material on private property

What is Hate Speech?

Hate speech is any form of expression through which speakers intend to vilify, humiliate, or incite hatred against a group or a class of persons on the basis of race, religion, skin color, sexual identity, gender identity, ethnicity, disability, or national origin.

The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects most speech, even when it is disagreeable, offensive, or hurtful.

What can I expect when reporting a Hate Crime or Hate Incident?

If you are making a report directly to the Irvine Police Department, you should expect a professional and compassionate uniformed police officer to respond to your location to conduct an investigation.  The officer will ask you questions about your experience, collect any available evidence, and ultimately document what happened in a police report.

If the facts you are reporting meet the legal definition of a hate crime, a criminal investigation will commence. This may ultimately lead to the arrest of the involved suspect(s) and subsequent prosecution by the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.

If the event does not meet the legal definition of a hate crime, a police report will still be taken to document the circumstances surrounding the hate incident.

What can I do to stop Hate Crimes?

Establish a hate crime network that includes law enforcement, local government, schools, religious organizations and community organizations to promote prevention and awareness. Learn to identify the differences between hate crimes, hate incidents, and hate speech and know the laws pertaining to each.

What resources are available for victims of Hate Crimes and Hate incidents in Orange County?

Orange County Human Relations maintains a comprehensive list of all available resources.  You can find more information on their website at:

https://www.ochumanrelations.org/hatecrime/hate-crime-resources/

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