A hate crime is when someone commits a crime for a biased reason. This includes:
- National origin
- LGBTQ status
- Gender identity
- Physical or mental disability
Call 911 or your local police station if you are the victim of a hate crime or witness to a hate crime. Ask to file a police report, and tell the responding police officers why you believe the crime was hate-motivated. For example, what words, actions, symbols, or other indicators accompanied the offense? Make sure to collect evidence like:
- Witness phone numbers and addresses
Examples of hate crimes
Hate crimes can include:
- Harassment, including threatening by telephone, by email, and via social media
- Disorderly Conduct
- Mob Action
- Damage to property
Reporting hate crimes and other resources
Illinois Attorney General Hate Crime Report/Civil Rights hotline
Anyone in the state of Illinois can call this hotline for help with hate crimes.
Cook County Sheriff’s Office hotline
Call this hotline to report a hate crime if you live in Cook County. If you feel you are being threatened or targeted, you should use the hotline to receive a direct response from the sheriff’s office. They will help connect callers to sheriff’s detectives and other groups such as legal aid.
Chicago Police Department’s Civil Rights Unit
This unit looks into reports of hate crimes in Chicago.
You can also file a police report online here.
Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Hate Crime Project
Contact this organization if you want free legal help with a hate crime in Chicago, including an attorney to help you navigate the criminal court process or to file a civil lawsuit against the perpetrator. If you or someone you know has experienced hate incidents, or if you are seeking information on how to combat hate crime you can use their free and confidential helpline. You may also submit a claim online.
Updated: March 2018