Offenders’ Backgrounds Play Role in Hate Crimes: Report

Hate crime offenders’ backgrounds often serve as a key factor in their behavior, a new study found.

The research, conducted by the University of Maryland’s National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses (START), was based on a database on nearly 1,000 violent and nonviolent hate crime offenders in the U.S., further reveals that offenders have varied demographic characteristics, criminal histories and target selections.

“We are seeing that there is a lot of diversity in terms of who is committing hate crimes and what their motivations are,” said Michael Jensen, START senior researcher and one of the study’s co-authors, the Journal of Blacks in Higher Education reported. “There is a wide range of prejudices, background characteristics, educations, and work histories. Some offenders carefully plan their crimes to maximize their impact, others act without premeditation in response to prejudices that are pervasive in American communities.”

The researchers found that hate crimes targeting victims viewed as Latino, Muslim and Arab have grown massively in the past two decades. Additionally, attacks on African Americans have increased by more than 40 percent.

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