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NCJ Number: 204396 Find in a Library
Title: Hate Crimes Offenders: An Expanded Typology
Journal: Journal of Social Issues  Volume:58  Issue:2  Dated:Summer 2002  Pages:303-317
Author(s): Jack McDevitt; Jack Levin; Susan Bennett
Date Published: 2002
Page Count: 15
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Building on the earlier work of J. Levin and McDevitt (1993), this study informs the hate crime debate by constructing an offender typology in which the major offender motivations are represented.
Abstract: In 1993, J. Levin and McDevitt suggested that hate crime offenders can be grouped into three major categories according to the motivation of the offender. Based on interviews with police officials, victims, and several hate crime offenders, Levin and McDevitt developed a typology that identified three primary motivations: offenders who commit their crimes for the excitement or the thrill, offenders who view themselves as defending their turf, and a small group of offenders whose life's mission is to rid the world of groups they consider evil or inferior. The current study was conducted in the belief that the current typology used to assist law enforcement officers in investigating and identifying hate crimes is incomplete. To provide empirical grounding for the expanded typology, case files used to develop the original typology were reanalyzed. This consisted of 169 cases from the Boston Police Department that constituted the total number of cases in which the offender was known and represented. The study sample represented 47 percent of the 358 hate crimes reported and investigated during the 18 months from July 1991 through December 1992. The review was limited to cases that involved either a known suspect or an offender who was arrested. The analysis of the cases focused on offender motivation. The findings indicate that the most common type of hate crime was an attack committed for the thrill or excitement experienced by the offender. The youthful offenders often told police they were just bored and looking for some fun. In 91 percent of these thrill-motivated cases, the perpetrators reported having left their own neighborhood to search for a victim in a gay bar, a temple in another part of town, or a minority neighborhood. The target was chosen because the offender perceived that the victim was in some way significantly different from the offender. Some 25 percent of the hate crimes reported to the Boston Police were categorized as "defensive." Unlike thrill-motivated offenses, defensive bias attacks were committed in order to protect the offender's neighborhood from those he considered to be outsiders or intruders from the offender's perspective. Another category of motivation identified in the study was "retaliatory" hate crimes, in which offenders acted in response to a hate crime against themselves or an individual in the group to which the offender belongs. Some of the hate crimes examined were committed after rumors circulated about a hate crime against the offender's group, whether or not the rumor was accurate. Retaliatory motivation is thus added to the typology developed by Levin and McDevitt. This article also discusses the issue of levels of culpability in explaining the most appropriate sanctions for certain kinds of perpetrators of hate crimes. 3 tables and 21 references
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Behavior typologies; Crime typologies; Hate Crimes; Offender profiles
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