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    Discussion of Hate Crimes and Offenders

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    In many cities throughout the United States, the prevalence of hate crimes has increased. You have been asked to provide your insight into this and recommend ways to decrease the occurrence of these types of crimes.
    Research the topic of hate crimes and address the following:
    ? Create an offender profile of the typical individual who commits hate crimes.
    ? What are some of the causes of these crimes?
    ? What actions can be taken to minimize the occurrence of hate crimes?

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    Create a profile of the typical individual who commits hate crimes.
    A single male between the age of 18 to 32.
    He commits crimes involving bodily injury to any person in which the victim is intentionally selected because of the actual or perceived race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity, or disability of the victim.
    He may be gay.
    He is compelled by his mind to commit criminal offense against a person or property which is motivated, in whole or in part, by the offender's bias against a race, religion, disability, ethnicity/national origin, or sexual orientation.
    He may be a white or a black .
    His action is a crime committed because of his prejudices. This is a controversial political issue within the U.S. The U.S. Congress (HR 4797 - 1992) defined a hate crime as: "a crime in which the defendant's conduct was motivated by hatred, bias, or prejudice, based on the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation or gender identity of another individual or group of individuals."
    Understanding the nature of those who commit hate crimes may be the most difficult aspect to grasp. Contrary to the notion of hate group conspiracies, most offenders act as lone wolves: small cells, pairs, or individuals acting alone.

    ? What are some of the causes of these crimes?
    From a psychological perspective, "prejudice" refers to a negative attitude toward individuals based on their perceived group membership--for example, their race, religion, ethnicity, or sexual orientation (Ehrlich, 1972; Levin and Levin, 1982). Though a form of discriminatory behavior, hate crimes often have an attitudinal dimension, the relationship between prejudice and criminal behavior tends to be complex. There is reason to believe that certain hate offenses result from some personal bias or hatred. Perpetrators may act out of prejudicial beliefs (i.e., stereotypes) and/or emotions (e.g., envy, fear, or revulsion) concerning people who are different. In the extreme case, a hatemonger may join an organized group in order to devote his life to destroying a group of people he considers "inferior."
    Where it is cultural, a particular prejudice may even become a widely shared and enduring element in the normal state of affairs of the society in which it occurs. As such, it may be learned from an early age through parents, friends, teachers, and the mass media. Individuals separated by region, age, social class, and ethnic background all tend to share roughly the same stereotyped images of various groups. In the United States, for example, some degree of anti-black racism can be found among substantial segments of Americans--males and females, young and old, rich and poor--from New York to California. In Germany, the same might be said of anti-Semitism as well as anti-Turkish immigrant sentiment (Levin and Levin, 1982). In fact, a recent analysis of anti-Jewish attitudes in east and west Germany found that strong anti-Semitism remained in west Germany even after "four decades of re-education...and a nearly total taboo on public expressions of anti-Semitism"(Watts, 1997; p. 219). It is not, however, always necessary for the prejudice to precede the criminal behavior. In fact, from the literature in social psychology, we know that ...

    Solution Summary

    The solution discusses profiles of hate crime offenders, causes and prevention