The Justice Department is utilizing a variety of steps, such as releasing $5 million for states to establish hotlines to report hate crimes, NPR reports. This initiative will provide additional funding to states that report hate crime data. Local law enforcement agencies are not required to submit their data to the FBI for its annual crime report. These measures come on the first anniversary of the COVID-19 Hate Crimes act.
Attorney General Merrick Garland stated the department will “use every legal tool available to investigate the Buffalo shooting,” adding that it “was a painful reminder of the singular impact that hate crimes have not only on individuals but on entire communities.”
“Throughout our history, and to this day, hate crimes have a singular impact because of the terror and fear they inflict on entire communities,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland in a statement. “No one in this country should have to fear the threat of hate fueled violence. The Justice Department will continue to use every resource at its disposal to confront unlawful acts of hate, and to hold accountable those who perpetrate them.”
Since January 2021, the Justice Department has convicted more than 30 defendants on federal hate crime charges. The DOJ is also looking to provide guidance on steps law enforcement officials and community organizations can take to raise awareness about increased hate crimes and encourage prevention.
Also, the Justice Department will announce its hiring of the first-ever Language Access Coordinator to work in the newly restored Office for Access to Justice. “Language access is a key barrier to the reporting of hate crimes,” a Justice Department official said. “And the language access coordinator will help improve the knowledge, use, and expansion of the Department’s language resources.”