Pub. date: 2002 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412950664 | Print ISBN: 9780761922582 | Online ISBN: 9781412950664| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Jack Levin & Jack McDevitt
Hate crimes are committed against individuals because they are perceived to be different in some socially significant way. The particular groups protected under hate crime statutes vary from state to state. At present, more than forty states have some form of anti-hate crime legislation; most jurisdictions cover offenses against individuals who are targeted because of their race, religion, or ethnicity. However, only twenty states include sexual orientation and disability, with even fewer states covering gender and age. In some states, a separate statute prohibits hate crime behavior, while in other states the hate crime statute is a “penalty enhancement.” This means that if an existing crime is committed and it is motivated by bias, the penalty for the existing crime may be increased (Levin and McDevitt 1993). Prior to the 1990s, before the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) began to gather hate crime data at a national level, a primary ...