The FBI investigated what are now called hate crimes as far back as World War I. However, the FBI's role increased following the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Before then, the federal government took the position that protection of civil rights was a local function, not a federal one. A hate crime is a traditional offense like murder, arson, or vandalism with an added element of bias. A hate crime is defined as a “criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity.” However, it is important to remember that hate itself is not a crime and many words and actions are constitutionally protected as free speech. Listen to today's program to learn more about the definition, tracking, and prosecution of hate crimes in the US. Are incidents increasing? Or is reporting increasing? Is this primarily a criminal, or political issue?