Causes and Effects of Hate Crimes Within America

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Within America, heinous hate crimes are conducted against various groups for various reasons, relating to biases and prejudices against a targeted group. These groups usually contain persons of a similar membership. Hate crimes are taken very serious within America as those who conduct hate crimes intend to target larger and larger groups with even more violent attacks.

Violent hate crimes instill a sense of fear within the targeted demographic or community; as well as call for constant security assessment and creation of policies. However, they also manage to bring together communities and strengthen relationships within those communities. Hate crimes have an extensive historical background. The FBI (Federal Bureau Investigation) is held responsible for investigating all hate crimes. They have been investigating hate crimes since World War 1. Before the 1960’s, the government did not include the protection of civil rights. The triple murder of civil rights workers called for the involvement of the federal government, which enlisted human rights to require the extra protection of the federal agency and not just local agencies. Hate crimes have a deep political background, which has been intensified by the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Hate, 2016).

The policy strengthened the need for investigation once the establishment of civil rights was granted within the constitution. After the passing of the Civil Rights Act, Congress granted a hate crime with a concrete definition. The U.S. Congress defined a hate crime as “an offense in which the defendant intentionally selects a victim, or property (property crime) because of their race, color, or national origin” (2017, 2018;Hate, 2018) the evolution of hate crimes evolved as a result of the Jim Crow laws and violent crimes conducted against those of African-American ethnicity. As the history of violent crimes expanded, more basis such as persons with disabilities, religion, and sexual orientation were now included (Shanmugasundaram, 2018). The many types of prejudices within America began to reveal themselves. Further acts were passed in an attempt to cover all borders of a hate crime, in an effort to prevent any further actions. These actions were one of America’s steps towards a more unified society were not known to be unappreciated in historical events to come.

Hate crimes have increased the security necessary for a quality of standard living in America. Violent hate crimes not only produce large fatalities, but they violate the basic human rights of expressing oneself. They also support the prediction of future crimes, and potentially even more heinous crimes against the targeted group. Not many know of the direct effects that hate crimes leave on their victims and the rest of society. The instance and effects of hate crimes needs to be resolved, for a complete transformation of American society.

The instances of hate crimes has increased, and needs to be rectified in order to decrease the need for constant policy change and a constant feeling of fear. The resolving of this problem will ensure America’s welfare as a supportive and diverse nation that accepts a variety of values, and allows for anybody regardless of religion, race, sexual preference, and any other value, to live freely without fear or anxiety caused by a potential hate crime attack. Research has been done on the topic of hate crimes and their potential effects on American welfare because of reoccurring instances. Violent hate crimes leave certain groups terrified, and research has to be conducted on exactly what other effects hate crimes may produce. Research can also answer whether further intervention is needed after a hate crime is consisted.

However, it is also important to study the above problem of violent hate crimes because many are not aware of what a hate crime is. Also, many should be aware of hate crimes and all that they consist of incase they ever are face-to-face with a hate crime case. Statistics provided, whether yearly or not, show criminologists and other researchers the increasing or decreasing rates so that they either innovate new policy amendments or reconsider old policies and security methods in order to decrease the instance of hate crimes. Researchers have studied and produced various literatures regarding not only the history of, but the causes of violent hate crimes.

The following review of various literatures will further support the history, causes and effects of violent hate crimes within America.

The subtopics that will be examined within the following review consists of instances of violent hate crimes, the causes of hate crimes, as well as the effects on the targeted group’s society/community. Literature that covers the causes of violent hate crimes will also be reviewed. Literature on the causes of hate crimes will be reviewed to show how studies may have shone light on prejudice and its dangerousness, especially over the years. Also, the review of literatures pertaining to this topic will assess the political and economic effect prejudice holds. Lastly, literature on the effects of violent hate crimes will be reviewed in an attempt to show a commonality amongst risk factors and common effects. Also, the indifferences in effects of certain violent hate crimes will show how some interpret these type of actions differently.

Causes of Violent Hate Crimes

Violent Hate Crimes are known to have an intended targeted audience. Reasoning for different hate crimes are usually because of an anti-bias, or a bias against a group. Literature has provided knowledge on the causes of violent hate crimes. The Southern Poverty Law Center, The Department of Justice, Law & Criminology, and Northeastern University, published literature that detailed the causes of hate crimes. Levin & McDevitt (2008) and Shanmugasundaram (2018) present a variety of hate crimes as they appear to be different biases and prejudices. The causes of the violent hate crimes are detailed as the “motivation for offenders”. According to the National Institute of justice, racial bias accounts for 60% of being a motivating factor for offenders, whereas 40% is seen to be because of the offender’s direct characteristics. Such as their own thinking process and assessment of well-being (Shanmugasundaram, 2018).

McDevitt and Levin (2008) details that offenders have at least four different types of motivations for committing a hate crime. “Thrill-seeking, which consists of pursuing a hate crime for excitement, in which over 90% of offenders are unaware of their victims; “Retaliatory attacks”, which consist of the offender acting out simply as a means to protect their own group, whether as a response to a past event or a current one. They also reference “mission” crimes, in which offenders are interested in hate and expressing it and will do so by any means (McDevitt & Levin, 2008). Fashola, a researcher within the Department of Justice Canada, focuses his literature around the idea that the hate crime is committed against a community and not an individual.

As well as the offender’s need to spread a significant message. The message that is being promoted through the use of hate crimes is that the targeted group is “devalued, despised or unwelcomed” (Fashola, 2018). On a more scientific standpoint, contrasting literature provides the new point that a cause of hate crimes may be generated or produced by taught values growing up. The “biases” or attitudes are not innate, and therefore can change before they lead to unnecessary crime (Manual). Shanmugasundaram (2018), and Levin & McDevitt (2008) utilizes the motivation list as a list of causes.

Referencing the thrill seeking motivation, which accounts for the most hate crimes, over 90% of offenders are unaware of their victim’s identity? The next type of motivating factor, known as a “defensive “hate crime is second to last when it comes to utilization in causes. These types of hate crimes are defined as “being committed by perpetrators who attempt to justify their actions with a threat supported by a different group”. The next motivating factor, is reviewed within he literature to be a “retaliatory attack”, in the offender is acting In response to protecting their own country or views that one stands for, Lastly, both article introduce a simple motivating factor known as a “mission” hate crime, where offenders have now adopted a career out of hate, in which the offender usually writes within their notes and plan their attack beforehand (Shanmugasundaram, 2018 & Levin & McDevitt, 2018).

The research on causes and types of hate crimes was not published beforehand. Criminologist’s referred to the same literature to define hate offenders, as well as hate crimes. However, Janice Iwama, published an article within the Wiley article database that focused on the hate crimes conducted against immigrants. Her reasoning for continuous hate crimes focused on a more specific scope with a different perspective. Hate crimes committed against immigrants can be said to occur because of how the media portrays them. As offenders are constantly portrayed as foreigners, that association is learned and conditioned with not only one, but all, even if it is indirect. Iwama provides the conclusion that the legislative change that follows a certain crime may also produce a correlation (further prejudice) between immigrants and offenders (Iwama, 2018).

Prior research on the causes of violent hate crimes may have concluded that a hate crime is solely the product of prejudice in limited areas. The numerous types of hate crimes also

Further research on the topic at hand should focus on the neurological reasoning behind hate crimes, and what bridges that gap between being prejudiced, and wanting to act out upon prejudices in a violent way. Such research could potentially help scientists provide an alternative to preventing such crimes. It is also unknown if there is any other reasoning for hate crimes than bias, as those conclusions would alter the definition of a hate crime as well as what can be labeled a hate crime.

Effect of Hate Crimes on Society/Community

Literature has been continuously published regarding the effects of hate crimes on social groups. Once a social group is targeted, many emotions and actions result from hat target, leaving the victimized group hopeless and fearful. Fashola (2018), focuses on the community impact of hate crimes. It is now known from current research that the aftermath of a hate crime is direct victimization. Massuci & Langton (2015) reveals the statistic that about 250,000 hate crime victimizations were experienced, where the motivation for the crime ranged from race to sexual orientation. The victimization not only causes the victim to fear for their life whenever they are not alone, but also decreases their level of civic participation.

The lack of engagement showed the effect of a hate crime on the confidence of a group after a hate crime. Furthermore, victims also may not report to the police majority of the time, simply because of fear. A pervasive feeling of fear accompanies the victimization caused by the hate crime. The fear can be based on threats that were made by the offender, or the nature of the crime (Levin & McDevitt, 2008; Fashola,, 2018). Literature has supported the relationship of fear and hate crimes and concludes fear to be an effect of hate crimes. Victimization has not been studied besides the following literature that was included within this review.

As well, it is important to consider that the impact on the individual victim may result in the victim rejecting “the aspect of themselves that was the target of the attack or associating a core part of their identity with fear, loss, and vulnerability (Fashola, 2018). Many victims feel as if their identity is attached to such a heinous moment, as it was the reason the crime was conducted. (Marzullo., A &Libman, A.,2009) contribute to the question a more definite answer for the effects of hate crime on communities and the society, as they focus on a specific member of a targeted group. Herek (2012) and Marzullo & Libman (2009), focuses on the effects of hate crimes on the LGBTQ community. The scope of the LGBTQ community is very distinctive in apart from other hate crimes. Herek (2012) proposes within his literature that hate crimes have a more negative impact on Lesbians and Gay men than any other targeted group.

“All victims of serious crime have distress but the problems associated with hate crimes last longer for random crimes” (Herek, 2012). Herek (2012) also concluded in his research that hate crime victims tend to have higher levels of depression, stress, and anger for as long as 5 years (Herek 2012). His scope on the LGBTQ community provides for this review an example of one individual circumstance and experience caused by hate crimes, and should create the notion that many groups that are likely to experience hate crimes will have differing experiences.

In contrast, Marzullo & Libman (2009), focus their scope on hate crimes in general, with a slight focus on the LGBTQ community. This literature provides for the review an analysis of hate crimes through the use of statistical data. Marzullo & Libman (2009) provides a table that includes the ranking of hate crime by motivation, with race in fact being the highest ranking and sexual orientation being the third (Marzullo & Libman, 2009). The scope of hate crimes on the LGBTQ community fails to provide a general understanding of hate crimes on every victim group for the review. There was a lack of distinctive literature that focused on sole variables like this literature did.

Prior research did not focus on each group that may experience hate crimes and their direct experiences. Also, a lot of prior research tend to focused on the LGBTQ experience with hate crimes. There was inadequate literature on the other groups, such as religion, if not historical. Future research should compare and contrast the experiences of each group in a means to intensify the effect of hate crimes. Also, future research should focus on the onset of PTSD and other related mental illnesses as it relates to the effects of hate crimes, including the unreported instances.

The original question focused on the instances and examples of a hate crime, as well as the cause and effect of a violent hate crime. Research published by the various authors listed, focused solely on answering the question, as well as providing contrasting research on the consequences. In order to rectify the occurrences of hate crimes and how they deteriorate community values, one much promote hate-crime training in public places such as schools and workplaces.

The utilization of hate prevention training for children and faculty is recommended within the manual that focuses on hate training in schools. The manual also recommends developing appropriate and effective corrective actions for whoever violates the school’s hate-crime policies (Preventing, n.d.). Reporting on statistical evidence that supports the lack of training and education on hate crimes, “In a study of 188 Criminal Justice Programs, only 21 percent offered hate crimes courses” (Marzullo & Libman, 2009). The knowledge on hate crimes and what they consist of, as well as how they differ from other illegal acts produced by discrimination should be spread and utilized at best. When people are ignorant to what hate crimes are, they are likely to fall victim, or even conduct them their selves.


  1. 2017 Hate Crime Statistics Released. (2018, November 13). Retrieved from
  2. Fashola, S. (2018, September 13). Understanding the Community Impact of Hate Crimes: A Case Study. Victims of Crime Research Digest.
  3. Hate Crimes. (2016, May 03). Retrieved from
  4. Hate Crimes and Violence Prevention. (2018). Retrieved from
  5. Herek, G. M. (2012). Hate Crimes Have More Negative Impact On Lesbians and Gay Men Than Other Crimes. Retrieved from
  6. Iwama, J. A. (2018, February 15). Understanding hate crimes against immigrants: Considerations for future research. Retrieved from
  7. Langton, L. & Massuci, A. (2015, June 29). Hate Crime Victimization, 2004-2015. Retrieved from
  8. Levin, J., & McDevitt, J. (2008). Hate Crimes.
  9. Marzullo, M. A., & Libman, A. J. (2009, May). Hate Crimes AND Violence against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender People.
  10. Preventing Youth Hate Crime. (2018). Retrieved from
  11. Shanmugasundaram, S. (2018, April 15). Hate Crimes, Explained. Retrieved from
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