violent crime typically involves a victim and an offender of the same race.

violent crime typically involves a victim and an offender of the same race.

Researchers have found that violent crime typically involves a victim and an offender of the same race. A disproportionately high number of all murders involve a black offender and a black victim, and most other murders involve a white offender and a white victim. In 1998, only 10 percent of murders crossed racial lines; three-fifth of those cross-racial murders involved a black offender and a white victim. Hate crimes are offenses in which victims are singled out because of their race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, disability or gender. Assaults, vandalism and intimidation against such victims are especially terrifying because the victims are aware that they were chosen because of their characteristics. By evoking a more general fear in the targeted groups, hate crimes reinforce existing patterns of oppression. The number of organized hate groups has increased in recent years, partly as a result of the ease with which their messages are spread through World Wide Web sites. However fewer than 5 percent of all hate crimes are committed by organized hate groups; a study in Boston found that the typical offenders are “young white males- teenagers acting in groups of two, three or four who went out together on a Saturday night looking for someone to bash. (Levin and McDevitt, 1998: A15) In 1992, the I.S. Supreme Court ruled that the government court not prohibit speech, even hate speech, on the basis of its content, but the following year it held unanimously that it was constitutional to punish crimes motivated by bias more harshly than crimes not motivated by bias. In 1998, thirty-nine states had penalty-enhancement laws that punishment hate crimes more severely that similar offenders not motivated by bias. Significant problems remain as the how to prove motivation in a hate crime, assess the precise role of “hate” in the offense, and determine wheatear provocation and mutual conflict preceded the crime. In 1990, the f…


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