Understanding the Nature of Hate Crimes: A Content Analysis of Police Case Reports

Raymond H.C. Teske, Jr., Sam Houston State University

In 1990 the United States Congress passed legislation directing the Uniform Crime Reporting Program to collect information on crimes motivated by bias against the victim's race, religion, sexual orientation, or ethnicity/national origin. In 1994 the Hate Crimes Statistics Act was amended and, in 1997 data on crimes motivated against a person because of disability were added.

Eleven "traditional offense categories" incouded in the data collection are murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, arson, simple assault, intimidation, and destruction'/damage/vandalism or property. A standardized "Record Layout Worksheet" was developed and law enforcement agencies submit supplemental information on hate crimes monthly to the UCR Program--in almost all instances through their respective state UCR Programs. Training programs and manuals help law enforcement agencies to (1) determine whether to classify a criminal incident as a hate crime and (2) how to enter the information on the code sheets. Information is collected on the type of incident, the crimes associated with the incident, the characteristics of the offender or offenders (if known), and the characteristics of the victim or victims (if known).

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Updated 05/20/2006