7 Questions Regarding Hate Crimes
7 Questions Regarding Hate Crimes
- What are hate crimes?
Criminology; Hate crimes, also referred to as bias-motivated crimes occur when a somebody targets a victim because of his or her perceived association in a certain social group, which is usually defined by race, religion, sex, ethnicity, age , political affiliation, disability and nationality. These crimes are usually committed through assault, damage to property, murder and injury on the basis of certain characteristics of the perpetuator such as difference in appearance, difference in race, difference in nationality, difference in nationality and even difference in language. A hate crime is a criminal act that is motivated by ones bias against one or more of the reasons mentioned above.
- Why do hate crimes occur?
Hate crimes are bias motivated crimes that usually occur as a result of prejudice and ignorance. There is a lack of understanding about the differences amongst people and their traditions, and this brings in fear and intolerance. When this prejudice and ignorance are left unaddressed, these sentiments usually lead to acts of intimidation and hate-motivated violence.
- How often do hate crimes occur?
A survey conducted in 2008 says that hate crimes are still on the rise in North America and parts of Europe. According to reports by FBI, hate crimes increased from 7,462 in 2002 to 7,489 in 2003. The 7,489 incidents reported to the FBI involved 8,715 different offenses, 9,100 victims, and 6,934 known offenders. Racial bias-motivated crimes represented the largest percentage of incidents at 51.3%. This was followed by Religion Bias at 17.9% and Sexual Orientation Bias at 16.5% taking third place. Next came Ethnicity Bias at 13.7%, and Disability Bias at 0.4%.
The most prevalent racial motivation was Anti-black bias with 2,548 incidents, 34% of all hate crimes. In sexual orientation motivation, Anti-male homosexual bias was the most common with 783 incidents, 10.5% of all hate crimes. Anti-Islamic crime numbers decreased from 155 in 2002 to 149 in 2003, a 0.4% decrease. The number of hate crimes directed at individuals on the basis of their national origin or ethnicity also decreased from 1,102 in 2002 to 1,026 in 2003.
- Who commits hate crimes?
In North America, out of the 6,934 identified hate crime offenders, the majority were whites, 4,317 or 62.3%, 1,286 or 18.5% were black, 61 or 0.9% were American Indians or Alaskan natives, 93 or 1.3% were Asian or Pacific Islander, 741 or 10.7% were of unknown race, while the remaining 436 or 6.3% were of other multiple races. The states with the highest numbers of hate crime were: 1. California with 1,472 incidents, 19.7% of total reported incidents), 2. New York with 602, 8%, 3. New Jersey with 594, 7.9%, 4. Michigan with 427, 5.7%, and 5. Massachusetts with 403, 5.4%. These five states make up 46.7% of all incidents reported in the United States.
- Where do hate crimes usually occur?
According to FBI reports, the highest percentage of reported hate crimes which is 32% occurred near or on residential properties. The FBI reports also say that 19% of hate crimes committed took place on highways, alleys, and streets. 11% of those crimes took place at schools and colleges. 28% were widely distributed across different locations around the country.
- Are hate crimes decreasing or increasing?
It is hard to tell if hate crimes are on the increase or decrease. For one, reporting hate crimes is done voluntary by States and localities. There are some States with distinct histories of racial prejudice and intolerance that have reported no incidents of hate crimes. We also find that many victims of hate crimes are often reluctant to come forward and report usually a direct result of the trauma caused by the crime.
Although the Hate Crime Statistics Act in the United States was passed in 1990, the states have only been collecting and reporting information about these crimes to the FBI since 1991. For the States and localities that have reported hate crimes, the number of incidents nationwide continues to hover annually somewhere between 6,000 and 8,600. Again, this could be indicative simply of the reporting or non-reporting trends of different localities.
- How are local communities affected by hate crimes?
Hate crimes are committed with the intent not only to send a message to the targeted victim, but also to the community around as a whole. The damage done to the victims and to the communities through the hate crimes cannot qualify adequately if one only considers physical injury. The damage to the very fabric of a community where a hate crime has been committed must also be taken into account. In effect, hate crimes create a kind of public injury because they erode public confidence in being kept free and safe from these crimes. The crimes of this nature can traumatize entire communities rapidly.