The Department of Justice will release millions of dollars in funding for developing hate crime hotlines nationwide as the country grapples with its highest levels of such incidents in more than a decade.

The DOJ will oversee the creation of hotlines dedicated to receiving reports of hate crimes to help local police departments throughout the country prevent racially motivated violence in their communities. The initiative will also incentivize states to submit hate crime data to the FBI for its annual report, which is not currently required for local law enforcement agencies.

“Throughout our history, and to this day, hate crimes have a singular impact because of the terror and fear they inflict on entire communities,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said 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.”


The announcement on Friday commemorated the one-year anniversary of the enactment of the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, which initially approved the creation of grants to go toward helping states create hate crime hotlines. As part of its new strategy, the DOJ will allocate $5 million to states that wish to establish hotlines for victims of hate crimes, Garland said.

“Each of these steps share the common goal of deterring hate crimes and hate incidents and addressing them when they occur, supporting those victimized by them, and reducing the pernicious effects that they have on our society,” Garland told reporters Friday. “These are not easy tasks. We know the threats we face are evolving and the strategies to confront them must evolve as well. Addressing them requires making total use of both our criminal and our noncriminal resources across the entire Justice Department.”

The DOJ will also hire Ana Paula Noguez Mercado as its first-ever language access coordinator to assist with hate crime reporting within immigrant communities. Mercado will lead the Office for Access to Justice, which was previously closed during the Trump administration but will be reestablished under the new plan.

Officials are investigating a recent string of shootings nationwide as hate crimes and violent extremism, although the DOJ had already been working on establishing these initiatives before those attacks.

“We had originally planned on hosting today's events to provide our colleagues, partners, and stakeholders with an update on our anti-hate efforts over the last year. We now gather in the wake of a horrific and painful reminder of the urgency and importance of this task,” Garland said. “Last weekend's attack was a painful reminder of the singular impact that hate crimes have not only on individuals but on entire communities.”


Police arrested Payton Gendron after he allegedly carried out a mass shooting at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York, last weekend that killed 10 people. The FBI is investigating the incident as a federal hate crime.

The new policies seek to address the rise in hate crimes reported in the United States over the last decade. Hate crime reporting saw a 32% increase in 2020 compared to the year before, with a 49% increase in attacks against black people and a 77% increase against Asian Americans, according to the latest data available from the DOJ.