Hate Crimes and Bias Incidents

Report a Hate Crime


Importance of Reporting Hate Crimes

For the police to respond effectively to any crime, they must be notified immediately via 9-1-1 so that any injuries can be treated, witnesses can be interviewed, and evidence can be collected and preserved; each one of these steps is vital to increasing the probability a suspect(s) will be identified, arrested and prosecuted.

Unfortunately, victims of bias-motivated crimes are often fearful to make a report for a variety of reasons.  This can lead to significant under reporting and inaccurate statistics.  It also allows the suspects who committed these crimes to continue their behavior with other victims. The Tucson Police Department wants victims of hate crimes to feel comfortable reporting these incidents to the police.

Ways to Report


Contacts and Resources

Tucson Police Department's TPD SAFE PLACE Liaisons 
Detective Gilbert Martinez                                                      Detective Dana Davis-Richardson
gilbert.martinez@tucsonaz.gov                                                dana.davis-richardson@tucsonaz.gov
520-837-2784                                                                             520-837-2837
Tucson Police Department's Hate & Bias Crimes Unit
Detective Jennifer Crawford                                                  Detective Steve Wilson
jennifer.crawford@tucsonaz.gov                                             steve.wilson@tucsonaz.gov
520-837-2785                                                                            520-837-2779 
Detective Tristan Pittenridge

Understanding Hate Crimes

Definition of a Hate Crime

Although the term, "Hate Crime", is the most frequently used term throughout the U.S., the true definitions may differ depending on the jurisdiction and/or state you reside in. 

A hate or bias crime is a criminal offense against a person or property, which is motivated in whole or in part by the offender’s bias against a race, religion, ethnic/national origin, sexual orientation, gender or disability.

TPD uses the following definitions to classify bias and bias-involved incidents      

Improper Bias:

A pre-formed negative opinion or attitude motivated by prejudice about the perceived race, color, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, marital status, political affiliation or beliefs, membership or activity in or on behalf of a labor organization or against a labor organization, physical or mental handicap, age, economic or social status, or citizenship of the victim (this is not an all-inclusive list).

Bias-based Incidents:

A bias-based incident is an incident that is motivated in whole or in part by a subject’s improper bias, but is lacking information to support reasonable suspicion or probable cause for a criminal violation (e.g., statements using racial slurs/hate remarks without commission of a suspected crime). Bias-based incidents often involve constitutionally protected expression that has not crossed a line into criminal conduct.

Hate Crime:

A hate crime is a criminal offense against a person or property that is motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s improper bias or the offender’s improper bias against the perceived race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity of the victim. The expression of improper bias or hate in and of itself is not a crime, and the TPD is mindful of protecting freedom of speech and other civil liberties for all community members.

PLEASE NOTE: Someone calling you a derogatory name is not a crime. It is constitutionally protected free speech. If the comments are accompanied by an additional criminal offense (e.g. threats, threatening behavior, or physical harm) it then becomes a crime.

You do not need to know what category your incident belongs in to report a hate crime.  Call 9-1-1 if you are the victim of a crime, or would like to report your incident to the police.  Or you can use our online form with an option to remain anonymous.  

Arizona Revised Statutes:

Arizona Revised Statutes does not include a stand-alone criminal violation for hate crimes. Instead, ARS 13-701 provides an option for enhanced sentencing when sufficient evidence exists that a defendant committed a felony crime while motivated by either:

  • Malice toward the victim based upon identity in a group listed in ARS 41-1750 (including race, color, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, or disability), or;
  • The defendant’s perception of a victim’s identity in a group listed in ARS 41-1750(A)(3).

Tucson City Code:

Sec. 11-30. Prohibition of hate crimes and institutional vandalism; penalties.

Sec. 11-30.1. Same--Minimum penalty; subsequent convictions.


Getting Involved - Businesses

TPD Safe Place is an initiative designed to assist the victims of hate/bias crime and to encourage the reporting of these crimes.

How can my business participate?

  • Order decal(s);
  • Commit to the Safe Place principles;
  • Once your request is received, TPD's Safe Place liaison detectives will deliver your decal to your location and provide further training to you and/or your staff on the TPD Safe Place concept. 

What are my responsibilities?

Although the TPD SAFE PLACE program is free and voluntary, it is important that you educate your staff regarding their responsibilities:

  • If a crime victim enters your premise, your staff should call 9-1-1 immediately on the victim's behalf;
  • Allow the victim to remain on your premise until police arrive;
  • If the victim leaves prior to police arrival, re-contact 9-1-1 and update the operator with the victim and/or suspect(s) description and direction of travel.   

As with any emergency situation, your staff should use due care and caution when providing the victims of crime safe shelter while being mindful of the safety of patrons, co-workers and compliance with company policy. 


Get Involved - Schools

TPD Safe Place is a safety initiative designed to assist the victims of hate/bias crime, student bullying and to encourage the reporting of these crimes. 

How can my school participate?

  • Order decal(s);
  • Commit to the Safe Place principles;
  • Once your request is received, TPD's Safe Place liaisons will deliver your decals to your location and provide further training to you and/or your staff on the TPD Safe Place concept;
  • The decals shall be placed at the front entrance of the school office.

What are my responsibilities?

Although the TPD SAFE PLACE program is free and voluntary, it is important that you educate your staff regarding their responsibilities:

  • To call school security and 9-1-1 if a criminal bullying incident occurs;
  • To allow the student to remain in the office until police arrive;

School Policy Recommendations:

PRIOR to publicly announcing inclusion in the TPD SAFE PLACE initiative, School Districts Should:

  • Update existing student bullying policies;
  • Establish clear school district protocol for educating all students, teachers, managers, and school district officials/employees regarding the policies relating to, definitions of, reporting of, documenting of, and the level of accountability and/or consequences surrounding students who engage in bullying;
  • Educate school district employees on the consequences of failing to follow protocol and take appropriate action in regards to student bullying;
  • Mandate the reporting of ANY allegation of student bullying, regardless if the district employee believes it meets the legal criteria of bullying;
  • The district should assign one Student Bullying Liaison, who is familiar with the district's current bullying policies, reporting mandates, legal definitions & issues and/or precedent involving potential liability for the district;
  • This Student Bullying Liaison will be responsible for receiving all cases within the district where allegations of student bullying arise, and will be directly responsible to the Superintendent for insuring that the student bullying reporting system is understood by all, efficient, effective, legally defensible, and enforced;
  • Once these new criteria are established, the TPD SAFE PLACE initiative will be an effective tool to help educate everyone on student bullying issues, assist in protecting the victims of student bullying, and instill confidence with the students and/or potential victims;
  • This will help show that the school district's student bullying policies have legitimacy, substance, and a follow-through mechanism.

Safe Place Decal

The Safe Place symbol is trademarked and depicts a police shield surrounding the colors that traditionally have symbolized the LGBTQ community since the 1970s.  It is used by other organizations or agencies only with the permission of the Seattle Police Department. In 2018, the language on all decals was updated to encourage the reporting of all bias crimes from all communities, not just LGBTQ.

The TPD Safe Place decal is meant to convey inclusion and intersectionality with any and all individuals, regardless of their race, political beliefs, nationality, age, gender, sexual orientation and/or identification, or any other differences either actual or perceived.

Use of the Safe Place Decal  

To maintain continuity and branding, the badge shape with the rainbow colors are trademarked as the official symbol of the Seattle Police Departments Safe Place initiative and should only be displayed and used after committing to the Safe Place principles and with the express permission of the Seattle Police Department's Safe Place Coordinator.  

*The Tucson Police Department has been given permission to use the Safe Place official symbol and program to enhance our service to the community.

How to Get a Decal 

To order your own TPD Safe Place Decal you must also sign up to participate in the program. 

Placement of the Safe Place Decal

The TPD SAFE PLACE decals should ideally be placed 3'-5' from the ground, near the front entrance of the building.  For schools, the decals should be placed at the front office, or school counselor's office.


For more information on Biased-based incidents, contact the Southern Arizona Hate Crimes Task Force.

Most recent Hate/Bias crime statistics -  Maps and statistics