Predicting Patterns in Domestic Hate Crime

Chris Bader, Baylor University
Alan S. Bruce, Quinnipiac University

A number of recent events highlight the continuing danger of domestic hate crimes. Despite the excessive violence associated with these offenses, criminologists generally have failed to examine the underlying factors contributing to hate crimes. The absence of hate crime data has prevented the systematic study of this behavior but, as a result of the Hate Crime Statistics Act (1990), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) now provides publicly available data on hate crimes known to the police. We will examine predictors for hate crimes derived from strain theory proposed by Merton (1968) and developed by Agnew (1992). We will use US Census data as indicators of change in causal variables derived from strain theory, and FBI hate crime data to measure patterns of hate crime activity. We hope to identify factors most useful for explaining hate crime, and to determine whether there are predictable patterns of this behavior. The findings will have important implications for the development of effective hate crime prevention policies. We will also examine the deterrent impact of legislation permitting enhanced sanctions for hate crime offenders.

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Updated 05/20/2006