What is a Bias Crime?

The Seattle Police Department (SPD) tracks all crimes that occur within the city limits of Seattle. This tracking is conducted so that the SPD can identify problem areas within the City and direct patrol and/or investigative resources to reduce these incidents. The FBI also mandates statistical crime reporting from every law enforcement agency in the United States.

Bias incidents that occur within the City of Seattle fall under three categories:

Malicious Harassment: The reason the suspect targeted the victim was based on the suspect's belief about the victim's race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, sexual orientation, mental, physical, or sensory handicap, homelessness, marital status, age, parental status, gender or political identity.

Crimes with Bias Elements: That during the commission of any crime, bias comments are made.

Non-Criminal Bias Incidents: Offensive and/or derogatory language that although hurtful, does not meet the level of a crime and may fall under the category of free speech.

To learn more about these three categories, including the enhanced legal definitions, please refer to the Knowing Your Rights section of our website.