Homophobic or Racist? An Attitudinal Study of the Public Perception of Hate Crime

Kellie Coker, Auburn University
Melissa Frobish, Auburn University
James Mundt, Auburn University

ABSTRACT
There have been a number of studies which have examined public perceptions of crime (see especially, Warr, 1980; 1989). However, most of these studies have focused on more conventional types of crime. In the past several years, hate crime has increasingly garnered attention in the media, and yet, very little is known about the public perception of this form of crime. The present study explores current attitudes about hate crime, as well as the perceived prevalence of this type of crime. Additionally, we examine the impact of various demographic indicators (e.g., gender, race, sexual preference) on the perception of the extent and nature of hate crime. The results are discussed within the context of possible policy implications.

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Updated 05/20/2006