The Department of Justice began prosecuting federal hate crimes cases after the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1968. Thus, the literature on hate crime is new, though rapidly growing. The first American use of the term “hate crime” emerged during the Civil Rights Movement in the second half of the 20th century. The term typically refers to bias-motivated violence. But the variation in hate crimes laws and data collection policies per state has created disparities in protection against hate crimes, which leaves people vulnerable depending on where they live. Without proper hate crime statutes and data collection, it is difficult to know the true nature and magnitude of the problem of hate crimes in the United States. In order to allocate resources and deter future hate crimes, law enforcement agencies need to understand the problem at hand.