Hate crimes have risen nationally to the highest level in 12 years according to a new FBI report released August 30, 2021. And while DC has trended downward, MD and VA have continued to see increases. Hate crimes and hate-motivated acts continue to pose a threat to our community. We understand that experiencing, or witnessing, a hate crime or hate-motivated act can be difficult and distressing and in recognition of that we offer these resources as a means to educate our players on what to do in the event they witness or experience hate. We encourage everyone to be vigilant, take care of themselves, and report crimes immediately to local authorities as soon as possible.
7 Ways to Help If You Witness Hate
- Take Action: If possible, make eye contact with the person being targeted and ask them if they want support. Move yourself near the person being targeted. If you feel you can risk doing so, create distance or a barrier between the person being targeted and the perpetrator. Using your discretion, attempt to calm the situation by using your voice, body language, or distractions. If it’s safe to do so, and the person being targeted consents, film or record the incident.
- Actively Listen: Is the person engaging with the perpetrator or not? You can make suggestions, “Would you like to walk with me over here? Move to another train car?,” and then follow their lead. Notice if the person being targeted is resisting in their own way, and honor that (i.e., don’t police the tone of the person being targeted). Follow up with the individual being targeted after the incident is over, see if they need anything else.
- Safety First: Assess your surroundings. Are there others nearby you can pull in to support? Working in a team is a good idea, if it is possible. Can you and the person being targeted move to a safer space/place?
- Stay Calm: Do not escalate the situation. The goal is to get the targeted person to safety, not to incite further violence from the perpetrator.
- Offer Emotional Support: Help the targeted person by asking how they’re feeling. Assist them in figuring out what they want to do next.
- Don’t Stay Silent: Silence is dangerous. It communicates approval and leaves the targeted person without support. If you find yourself too nervous or afraid to speak out, move closer to the person being targeted to communicate your support with your body.
- Don’t Call the Police: For many communities experiencing harassment right now (including Arab and Muslim communities, Black people, queer and trans folks, and immigrants) the police can cause a greater danger for the person being harassed. The police should only be contacted if the situation gets physically violent.
7 Things to Consider When Experiencing Hate
- Safety First: Trust your instincts and assess your surroundings. If you feel unsafe and you are able to, leave the area.
- Stay Calm: Take a deep breath, limit eye-contact, and maintain neutral body language.
- Speak Out: If you can do so safely, in a calm and firm voice establish physical boundaries and denounce their behavior and comments.
- Seek Immediate Support: Ask bystanders for support or intervention.
- Seek Medical Attention: Call 911 and go to a hospital and receive medical attention as soon as possible if you have been a victim of a physical attack, including sexual assault. Even if there are no immediately apparent injuries, it is possible that a healthcare professional may discover injuries that are not visible.
- Preserve Evidence: Collecting evidence can help you build a case. This can mean: taking photographs, saving written or electronic messages, recording threatening voicemails, not bathing (bathing washes away evidence), keeping soiled clothes in a plastic sealable bag, keeping a journal of the dates and times of events, noting witnesses, noting descriptions of the perpetrators, etc.
- Seek Emotional Support: Once you feel safe, take time to recover and reach out to someone to talk about what happened. Remember this is not your fault, and you are not alone.
Bystander Intervention Training
If you’re interested in attending bystander intervention training, you can find free or low-cost resources here:
Reporting Hate Crimes
For any hate crime (a traditional offense such as physical assault that is motivated by bias) that is in progress or has just occurred, call 911.
- Call or visit your local Metropolitan Police Department district station.
- Call the Hate Crimes Voicemail at (202) 727-0500, which allows individuals in the District to provide information regarding hate crimes anonymously, if they wish. Please note that MPD may not be able to investigate the information as a crime if there is not enough information, so contact information for any follow up questions may be helpful.
- Mail or email a written statement with the complaint that contains information to support a claim that the incident constitutes a bias-related crime. Statements should be sent to:
Hate Crimes Coordinator
Homeland Security Bureau
Metropolitan Police Department
300 Indiana Avenue, NW, Room 3000
Washington, DC 20001
- The MCPD will document every allegation of a hate crime or bias incident and conduct a further investigation to determine whether the event is verified, inconclusive, or unfounded. The Community Engagement Division (CED) is tasked with monitoring and tracking all Hate-Bias events in Montgomery County.
- Maryland Attorney General’s Hate Crime Hotline
- Call: 866-481-8361
Prince Georges County
- Call the PG County or local municipality police department for non-emergent situations or for crimes that previously occurred.
- PG County: 301-352-1200
- Bladensburg: 301-864-6080
- Bowie: 240-544-5700
- College Park: 301-405-3555
- Greenbelt: 301-474-7200
- Hyattsville: 301-985-5060
- Laurel: 301-498-0092
- Mt. Rainier: 301-985-6565
- Riverdale Park: 301-927-4343
- Call 703-558-2222 in Arlington County for non-emergent situations or for crimes that previously occurred
- Persons who believe they have been victims of a hate crime or have witnessed a hate crime are encouraged to contact the Office of Human Rights at 703.746.3140 for assistance.