History

Hate Crimes

t acts against other individuals have always been prevalent in society throughout history, the socially-constructed notion of referring to this as hate crimes is a fairly new notion (McPhail and DiNitto, 2005). This paper will discuss hate crimes in general and place an emphasis on why it seems like hate crimes are on the rise.It is undoubtedly true that hate crimes are reported in the news more frequently than in the past. A good example of this is a comparison of the number of newspaper coverage given. In the 1980s, over the course of 8 years, the Washington Post published 49 articles on hate crimes. In comparison, in the 1990s, there were 1,100articles published on hate crime in 8 years (Nolan et al, 2002).one main reason for this is possibly due to the ‘Hate Crimes Statistics Act’ which was passed in 1990 (Nolan et al,2002).5) There appears to be no relationship between hate crimes and index crimes. Index crimes refer to the eight criminal acts that are used by the FBI to predict the amount of crime in the USA. These include murder, manslaughter, rape, robbery, assault, burglary, larceny-theft, vehicle theft and arson (Nolan et al, 2002).To make the decision as to whether a crime should be treated as a hate crime, the police follow a two step approach (FBI, 1999 from Macmahon et al, 2004). The officer who is first on the scene decided whether there is any evidence the offender’s motivation was bias. In the second step, a trained officer makes a solid decision as to whether the incident is in fact a hate crime using a set of criteria. These criteria are all victim-orientated and are ‘membership in the targeted group, active role or advocacy in community group, representation of victim’s group in the community, previous record of victimization, or the victim’s visitation to a high-tension community’ (Macmahon et al,2004). Four other criteria that are usually used that are offender based include ‘the presence of comments, gestures, or written

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