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Perceptions of Hate: The Extent to Which a Motive of "Hate" Influences Attitudes of Violent Crimes

NCJ Number
Journal of Crime and Justice Volume: 23 Issue: 2 Dated: 2000 Pages: 1-25
Brenda L. Vogel Ph.D.
J. M. Miller
Date Published
25 pages
Using a sample of students from a racially and ethnically diverse university in California, a factorial survey was constructed to examine the extent to which the motive of hate aggravated or mitigated perceptions of a criminal act and how membership in a particular ethnic or racial group affected those perceptions.
In the spring of 1998, 450 undergraduate students enrolled in criminal justice and political science classes agreed to participate in the study. A vignette survey using the factorial design method was employed to assess the influence of a hate motive on perceptions of violent crime seriousness. Respondents were asked to rank the seriousness of each vignette on a scale of 1 to 10. Results indicated hate motives were considered among the most serious motivations for crime among all respondents. Significant attitudinal differences between ethnic groups, however, were not discovered. The author believes that the findings are relevant to the debate surrounding the appropriateness of enhancing penalties for those who commit hate crimes and that judgments about culpability and appropriateness of punishment must fit public perceptions of crime seriousness. 20 references and 5 tables