PTPD Against Hate:
Reporting Hate Crimes
and Incidents of Bias
WHAT IS A HATE CRIME?
In Pennsylvania, a hate crime is defined as a criminal act motivated by ill will or hatred toward a victim's race, color, religion, or national origin. In Pennsylvania, hate crimes are termed ethnic intimidation and the offense is set forth in the crimes code, Title 18, Section 2710. When certain criminal offenses are committed with the motive of hate, the crime of ethnic intimidation can also be charged. Generally, the types of offenses to which ethnic intimidation can be added are called underlying offenses. These underlying offenses involve danger or harm to you and/or your property.
EXAMPLES OF UNDERLYING OFFENSES (LIST NOT EXHAUSTIVE):
- Harassment (in person or electronically)
- Physical Assault
- Criminal Mischief
- Terroristic Threats
EXAMPLES OF INCIDENTS NOT CONSIDERED A HATE CRIME:
- If the suspect is in the process of committing another crime, and calls the victim a derogatory name, it does not automatically mean that ethnic intimidation has occurred
- If the suspect uses insulting or derogatory words but does not place another person in a reasonable fear of harm to their person or property, this is not ethnic intimidation
- If the incident is not found to be a crime, ethnic intimidation or any other type of crime, there is often not much enforcement action police can take
REPORTING A HATE CRIME
If you feel that you, or someone you know, were a victim of a hate/bias crime or incident, please report it immediately by calling 9-1-1 (emergency), 1-800-479-0050 (non-emergency), or by contacting the Patton Township Police Department directly. You can also report the incident online HERE and if you wish to remain anonymous, HERE.
The Patton Township Police Department will not tolerate hate or bias of any kind, and a thorough investigation will follow any report of a hate/bias crime or incident. If you believe the incident you are reporting was motivated by your race, color, religion, or national origin, ask the officer to note it in the report.
If the hate was expressed in words, give the officer the exact wording of what was said, regardless of how offensive it is. If there are witnesses to the incident, point them out to the officer(s) at the scene.
If it is found that there is no directly enforceable action that can be taken by police, this does not mean what happened to you wasn't wrong. You may also bring a civil cause of action against the perpetrator, which carries a low burden of proof than proving a crime. The perpetrator may be liable to a victim for general and special damages, including damages for emotional distress, punitive damages and reasonable attorneys' fees and costs. You will need to contact a private attorney to start a civil action.
- The Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC)
- The PHRC does not charge or investigate hate crimes or criminal offenses. The PHRC does track Hate Crime reports. They can be reached at 717-772-0523
- State College Human Relations Commission
- 243 South Allen Street, State College, PA 16801. Phone: 814-234-7115
- Office of Attorney General: Combatting Hate Crime, A Resource Guide