A hate crime is a criminal offense committed against a person or property that is motivated, in whole or in part, by the offender's bias against a race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, or disability.
Our department takes hate crimes very seriously. This is particularly true because University Police Services is a diverse department, with more than 50% of its personnel representing a variety of minority groups. Hate crimes require the special attention of the campus community since these types of crimes historically go unreported and can lead to other serious crimes. In fact, the U.S. Justice Department has noted that failure to report such incidents is "particularly serious because many perpetrators of hate crimes repeat and escalate their behavior until confronted by authorities."
Hate Crimes Can Include
- Verbal intimidation or threats
- Hate mail (including email)
- Property damage
- Trespassing and stalking
- Physical assaults and threats
- Attacks with weapons
While any form of discrimination runs contrary to the goals of UNLV, all campus community members should be aware that there is a difference between "hate crimes" and "bias incidents," as not all hateful acts are illegal. So what is the difference between a hate crime and a bias incident? Like hate crimes, bias incidents involve behaviors that are motivated by a bias against a victim's race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, or disability; however, bias incidents are not criminal acts. Hateful speech and behaviors only become crimes if they place a potential victim in reasonable fear of physical injury or when they directly incite perpetrators to commit violence against a person or property.
Report a Hate Crime
- Write down in detail exactly what happened (who, what, when, where, and why).
- If there are witnesses to the crime, record their names and phone numbers. Ask them to write an account of what they witnessed and sign and date the document.
- Record names and descriptions of the perpetrators.
- Make photocopies of hate mail or other documentation. Keep the originals.
- Keep a log of all harassing calls you receive and preserve all voice messages to provide evidence to the police.
- Photograph physical injuries, offensive graffiti, and evidence of vandalism.
- Call the University Police Dispatch non-emergency phone number at 702-895-3668, ext. 2. Provide the police dispatcher with detailed information to ensure the incident is documented as bias-related. You do not need to be a citizen to report a crime.
RebelSAFE is the official mobile safety app of UNLV. Among the many features of the app to help keep the campus community safe, users can submit a crime tip if they become aware of information regarding pre-planned hate crimes. To download the free app, visit iTunes or the Google Play Store.
Online Dangers and Cybercrimes
University Police Services believes that personal safety of the campus community includes safe behaviors online. Responsible social media use includes staying up-to-date with privacy settings, being cautious when visiting links shared by others, and interacting only with trusted contacts. As the popularity of social networking websites continues to grow, so do the risks of using them: Hackers, spammers, virus writers, identity thieves, and other criminals seek to "phish" or attempt to acquire your personal information, such as passwords, credit card details, your home address, and more.
- Social media is an online communication channel dedicated to community-based interaction and content-sharing. Popular social media websites and apps include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest, and most social media platforms allow the user to interact with one or more users via private messaging that allows for the sharing of photos and videos.
- Identity theft occurs when someone uses personal identifying information like your name, Social Security number, or credit card number without your permission to commit fraud or other crimes.
- Cyberstalking refers to the use of electronic communications, such as email, to stalk another person in order to violate that individual’s privacy and give unwanted attention. Stalking can result in harassment and, in some instances, more severe crimes such as assault and battery.
Whether you become the victim of identity theft, cyberstalking, or other harassment via social media, University Police Services encourages you to review our tips below to stay safe online.
- Identity thieves make use of your personal information by
- Changing the billing address on your credit card account or opening new accounts in your name.
- Opening a bank account and writing bad checks in your name.
- Making counterfeit checks, credit cards, and debit cards.
- Establishing phone or wireless service in your name.
- Filing for bankruptcy under your name to avoid paying debts or avoid eviction.
- Getting identification in your name issued to them with their picture.
- Buying a car in your name.
- Getting a job in your name.
- Filing fraudulent tax returns.
- Giving your name to the police during an arrest.
- Identity thieves get your personal information by
- Stealing records or information while they’re on the job.
- Hacking your records via computer.
- Stealing your mail or rummaging through your trash.
- Capturing the information in a data storage device.
- Stealing your wallet or purse or finding it in your home.
- Posing as legitimate companies and claiming via email or phone that you have a problem with your account.
- If your information has been stolen
- Close all credit cards and bank accounts immediately.
- Call the toll-free fraud number of any nationwide consumer reporting company (Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion) to place an initial fraud alert on your credit reports.
- Contact the agency that issued your identification document to cancel and replace it.
- If you are being stalked
- Send a message to the offender. Make the message a clear warning that contact is unwanted and that person must cease all communication.
- Document! Save all messages and recorded voicemails and establish a paper trail.
- Keep all copies out of the house. Stalkers are known to break in and steal things.
- File a complaint with the offender’s ISP provider and filter messages.
- File a harassment report at the police department.
- Tips to prevent cyberstalking
- Only visit safe sites that adopt an anti-harassment policy.
- Never give out personal information to strangers online.
- When online, only type things you would actually say to someone face to face.
- To maintain your privacy, make sure that your usernames are neutral; never use your real name, nickname, or any type of suggestive name.
- Be very cautious about meeting an online acquaintance in person. If you choose to, always take someone with you and meet the online acquaintance in a public place.
- Limit your personal email address to friends and family and use another email address when visiting online sites.
- Change your email password frequently and use illogical patterns for your password.
- Ensure that social media profiles and other online biographies do not include your home address.
- Never leave your computer logged on while unattended.
- If you own your own domain name, create multiple mailboxes and use the main one only with friends and family.
- Do not feel guilty over “not being nice” online.
- Occasionally search for your name online to see if any suspicious results appear.
For more information about protecting your identity, please contact the Las Vegas Metro Police Department’s Fraud Detail unit.
Billions of users worldwide are on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Social media and other similar smartphone apps allow users to connect with others to share information like photos, videos, and personal messages. As the popularity of these social networking websites grow, so do the risks of using them: Hackers, spammers, virus writers, identity thieves, and other criminals attempt to "phish" or attempt to acquire your personal information, such as passwords, credit card details, your home address, and more.
- If you suspect that a personal/direct message from a friend/follower is fraudulent, use an alternative method to contact them to confirm that the message wasn't sent by a hacker.
- Do not allow social networking services to scan your email address book. When you join a new social network, you might receive an offer to enter your email address and password to find out if your contacts are on that social network. If your social media account is hacked, your email contacts are then more at risk to receive spam messages from your registered email address.
- One way that criminals attempt to phish for information is through unsecure links on third party websites. Type the address of your social networking site directly into your browser or use your personal bookmarks. If you click a link to a social networking website through an email or another website, you might be entering your account name and password into a fake site where your personal information could be stolen.
- Be selective about who you accept as a friend on a social network. Identity thieves might create fake profiles in order to get information from you.
- Many social networking websites allow you to download third-party applications that let you enhance your personal profile. Criminals sometimes use these applications to steal your personal information.
- If you use a smartphone app that utilizes GPS to track your runs or check-ins to various places, be selective about who you add as a friend and if your information is public or private. Criminals can use this information to learn your running patterns, the businesses you frequent, your home address, and more.
Verbal Judo is a conflict management technique that has been used for over 30 years to train police departments, families, students, and businesses to de-escalate potentially volatile situations. Understanding Verbal Judo allows you to use words to redirect the behavior of hostile people toward a positive outcome. Cooperation and compliance are safely achieved, and the chances of a verbal confrontation leading to a physical attack are greatly reduced.
Verbal Judo focuses on patient, empathetic negotiation and conversation techniques. The skillful management of persons in crisis is dependent on comprehensive, adapted and learned communication skills.
Expressing concern for others communicates respect and willingness to cooperate, which is the best way to end a verbal attack. Here’s some tips to remember while speaking with a volatile person:
- Show interest in resolving their concern.
- Build empathy and don’t interrupt.
- Find out the underlying need.
- Set boundaries and manage the situation.
- Remove yourself or the other person from the threatening situation when other methods fail to reduce the threat.
It’s important to recognize the warning signs of an uncooperative person in an unstable emotional state. Here are some safety tips when the other party loses control:
- Anger and aggression are the product of frustration. Listening is your most important skill.
- Do not attempt to reason with a person in the midst of irrational anger.
- Use a prearranged warning signal to alert others to an escalating situation.
- Stay calm when confronted, and respond using a firm, confident tone.
- Don’t respond with a threat. Inform the other person of the consequences of inappropriate behavior.
- Leave an escape route open for yourself, and seek safety at your first opportunity.
What to Do When Stopped by a Police Officer
University Police Services’ officers seek to make all interactions with the campus community positive. Misunderstandings are opportunities to learn. Our officers prefer the adage prevention before detention, and they would much rather a traffic stop result in a conflict-free learning experience than a traffic ticket and a blemish on your record. It’s about community outreach, crime prevention, and a second chance to be better.
In an effort to keep your interactions safe, positive, and as quick as possible, our officers recommend the tips below to keep you safe.
An officer on bike, car, or foot patrol has one thing in mind: Keeping the community safe. If you are stopped by an officer, don’t immediately assume the worst. There are plenty of reasons why an officer might stop you — including for your own safety!
- The officer may simply be saying hello! Our officers pride themselves on their community policing efforts. This includes greeting students throughout the day to see if they are well.
- You may have unknowingly committed a traffic violation. Though our first instinct is to reach for our cellphone to contact someone when we are panicked or frustrated, when you do that, the officer doesn’t know if you’re reaching for a weapon. Whether you’re on foot or in your car, listen to what the officer is saying. If needed, you have the legal right to contest a ticket in court.
- The officer might believe you are in need of help. Our officers have been trained to provide assistance as first responders for a variety of situations. If necessary, an officer will remain with you until further medical assistance arrives.
Maintain Respectful Interactions
University officers are trained to be tactful in their interactions with the campus community. In return, by asking and answering questions in a calm voice and communicating with the officer in a non-threatening way, you are conveying respect to the officer and indicating that you are not a risk for becoming a hostile threat.
Per NRS 202.3667, if you are in possession of a concealed weapon with a CCW permit, and you are asked by an officer if you are in possession of a concealed weapon, you must answer truthfully and provide your permit. Doing so will help make a routine traffic stop conflict-free and you can be on your way as soon as possible.
Finally, if you see the lights on a police car flashing or a siren alerting you to its presence, pull over safely, away from traffic. If pulled over, speak calmly to the officer — this signals to the officer that you’re not a threat. Convey respect by following all instructions the officer gives you. If a ticket is issued and you disagree with the officer, you have the legal right on the court date that is listed on the ticket to then argue your case.
Communicate Safe Intentions Through Your Behavior
All police officers are trained to observe a suspect’s behavior as a possible indicator for their intention to become hostile. If you are stopped by a police officer on foot or in a car, here are tips our officers have for making the interaction as safe as possible:
- Keep your hands in plain sight. If you’re in a vehicle, keep your hands on the steering wheel; if you’re on foot, keep your hands out of your pockets. Keeping your hands visible ensures the officer doesn’t mistakenly believe you are reaching for a weapon.
- Stay inside your vehicle unless the officer instructs you to exit. Even if your intention is to greet the officer and be cooperative, exiting your vehicle communicates intent to attack or flee the scene.
- Don’t raise your hands — or your voice. These actions might signal your intent to strike the officer or become violent.