They say members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community are often targeted but incidents are not always reported.
A hate crime or incident can be anything from assault, to name-calling, harassment and blackmail because of a victim’s religion, disability, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity or transgender identity.
Detective Chief Inspector Melanie Palin, of South Yorkshire Police, said: “To help us understand the true extent of hate crime in relation to members of the LGBT community we want to encourage people to report any incidents to us.
“It is only when an incident has been reported that we are we then able to fully investigate the matter and put the appropriate measures in place to continue to try and tackle these unacceptable crimes.
“Hate crime incidents can occur in everyday situations, from shopping, to eating out and using public transport, and can have long lasting emotional and psychological impact on a victim.
“We realise that many people may have experienced some form of homophobia or transphobia in their lives and won’t have reported it to anyone.
“We also appreciate that many people have concerns about reporting such incidents for fear of further incidents occurring or worrying that they could be ‘outed.’
“However, I would like to reassure people that any complaint made to us will be taken extremely seriously and treated with the utmost respect.
“The police do not tolerate hate crime and you shouldn’t have to either. Reports of hate crimes and hate incidents will be investigated thoroughly, with support provided.”