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Hate & Bias Crimes in Housing

Hate & Bias Crimes in Housing

If anyone is in immediate danger due to an act of hate, call 9-1-1. If the threatening act has already occurred and/or there is no longer an immediate danger, contact your local police department.


Despite the socio-political progress the state of Washington has achieved over the years, our local police departments still report hundreds of hate crime incidents every year. In 2018, there have been 450+ reports of bias/hate crime incidents just within King County according to Seattle Police Department’s Bias/Hate Crime Data Dashboard.

According to the FBI Hate Crime Statistics of 2017, 27.5% of all hate crime incidents across the nation occur in or near residences and family homes.

Defining Hate Crime

Within the state of Washington, a hate crime is defined as an illegal act which is motivated by bias, bigotry, or prejudice against a person or people based on their perceived race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability.

Under the state laws and statutes related to RCW 9A.36, “a person is guilty of malicious harassment if he or she maliciously and intentionally commits one of the following acts because of his or her perception of the victim’s race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation or mental, physical, or sensory handicap:

    • Causes physical injury to the victim or another person;
    • Causes physical damage to or destruction of the property of the victim or another person; or
    • Threatens a specific person or group of persons and places that person, or members of that specific group of persons in reasonable fear of harm to person or property”

To learn more about RCW 9A.36 statutes, click here.

It is important to understand the difference between “hate crimes” (criminal acts) and “hate-based incidents” (non-criminal conduct or words). To learn more, visit the Indiana Alliance Against Hate’s webpage on the topic.

The work that provided the bases for this publication was supported by funding under a grant with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The substance and findings of the work are dedicated to the public. The author and publisher are solely responsible for the accuracy of the statements and interpretations continued in this publication. Such interpretations do not necessarily reflect the views of the Federal Government.