Our research confirmed that local, state, and federal governments in the United States are committed to meet their obligation to protect Arab and Muslim communities from backlash violence but vary in the extent to which they have succeeded in doing so. While no government can wholly prevent hate crimes against Arabs and Muslims-or any other vulnerable community-after September 11 public officials took steps to minimize such violence, to ensure its successful investigation and prosecution, and to reassure communities that the government is committed to their protection. We provide recommendations below drawn from our research. Because Human Rights Watch believes that some government entities have developed measures or practices that may serve as useful examples to others we have provided their contact information in the Appendix.
2. Following any event that might trigger backlash violence, public officials, as well as civic and social leaders, should make unequivocal statements that bias-motivated violence will not be tolerated and that those who engage in it will be prosecuted.
3. When the possibility of backlash crimes arise, police should heighten their presence in vulnerable communities. Police should also insure open channels of communication with affected communities during these periods.
4. Every law enforcement agency should have one or more officers trained to identify and investigate bias-motivated crimes.
5. All police reports which indicate that a responding officer or a victim believes that a crime may be bias-motivated should be given for review and guidance to a law enforcement officer trained to detect and investigate bias-motivated crimes.
6. Law enforcement agencies should ensure that residents in their jurisdictions know where and to whom and how to report hate crimes. Literature summarizing how victims may report bias-motivated crimes should be produced, translated into foreign languages as necessary, and distributed widely.
2. State attorney general offices should create hate crime prosecution units that provide assistance to county prosecutors.
3. Prosecutors should prominently publicize prosecution of bias-motivated crimes to the general public and to the targeted community, and should do so regardless of whether a bias-motivated act is prosecuted under hate crimes legislation
Bias Crime Tracking
2. Law enforcement agencies should regularly publish and make public comprehensive statistics on bias-motivated crimes in their jurisdictions regardless of whether the crimes are prosecuted under special hate crime legislation. Published statistics on bias-motivated crimes should include: the number of hate crimes committed in the jurisdiction for the specified period; whether the crime was based on the victim's race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, gender, disability, or sexual orientation; the victim's race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, gender, disability, or sexual orientation; the type of crime committed; the setting in which the crime was committed; whether the perpetrator was apprehended and how many of the reported bias-motivated crimes are being prosecuted.
Affected Community Outreach
2. Where significant numbers of members of a community affected by bias-motivated violence live in a particular jurisdiction, government agencies should establish ongoing channels of communication and interaction with community leaders. They should also consider appointing a community liaison or an advisory council to facilitate interaction between government and the community.