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Justice Department unveils new efforts to combat hate crimes

Attorney General Merrick Garland is expected to unveil three new initiatives aimed at deterring and confronting hate crimes. First, the Justice Department will issue guidance on steps law enforcement officials and community organizations can take to raise awareness about increased hate crimes and encourage prevention. The latest statistics from the FBI show hate crimes at their highest levels in more than a decade, particularly against Black and Asian American communities.

The Justice Department will also open grant opportunities for states interested in creating state-run hate crime reporting hotlines. This initiative will provide additional funding to states that report their hate crime data to the FBI. Currently, local law enforcement agencies are not required to submit their data to the FBI for its annual crime report, with 3,000 law enforcement agencies in the country declining to submit statistics in 2020. The Justice Department and FBI are required by the 1990 Hate Crime Statistics Act to publish an annual report on hate crimes.

Finally, the Justice Department will announce its hiring of the first-ever Language Access Coordinator to work in the newly restored Office for Access to Justice.

“Language access is a key barrier to the reporting of hate crimes,” a Justice Department official said. “And the language access coordinator will help improve the knowledge, use and expansion of the Department’s language resources.”

The announcements come one year after Garland issued a comprehensive memo detailing increased resources that would be used to combat a spike in hate crimes.

“We know that hate crimes have a unique impact because of the terror they inflict on entire communities,” a Justice Department official said. “Attorney General Garland has said that the Justice Department will use every resource at its disposal to confront unlawful acts of hate and to hold accountable those who perpetrate them.”

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