Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: June 02, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412971928 | Print ISBN: 9781412950855 | Online ISBN: 9781412971928| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Ryan B. Martz
Hate crimes refers to crimes motivated by an offender's dislike of a victim's belonging to a “socially undesirable” group. Many scholars, politicians, and law enforcement officials have argued, however, that using the term hate crimes is inaccurate as such crimes are often motivated more by the offender's biases than by hatred. Therefore, hate crimes are also frequently referred to as bias crimes, civil rights crimes , or ethnic intimidation. Although the definition of hate crime offending can include crimes against a variety of groups, race and religion are consistently embraced in the definition. Other group categories sometimes included are sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, gender, political affiliation, age, and national origin. Consistent, however, is the assumption of the existence of a predicate offense, or an underlying crime. Predicate offenses to hate crimes can include a range of crimes, from property destruction to homicide. Although hate crimes have only come ...