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Research Briefing: Understanding Trends in Hate Crimes Against Immigrants and Hispanic-Americans

NCJ Number
Jack McDevitt; Michael Shively; Rajen Subramanian
Date Published
May 2011
4 pages
In response to a directive from the U.S. Congress, the Justice Department's National Institute of Justice commissioned a study that will analyze trends in hate crimes against immigrants and Hispanic-Americans, as well as the underlying causes of an increase in hate crimes against these groups.
Preliminary findings of secondary data analyses from Phase I of the study indicate that models of Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) suggest that there may have been a slight rise in hate crimes against Hispanics from 2004 to 2008, although the effect is modest when some modeling techniques are used; and the effect disappears in other types of models. State-level UCR data detected significant trends in the two States with the greatest number of hate crimes (California and Texas), but not in other States. Regarding methodology, the study determined that the utility of hate crime data under the National Incident Based Reporting System (NIBRS) are compromised by incomplete coverage across States. These data are best used to assess the traits and composition of hate crime incidents, but not trends in the number of incidents. Data from the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) allow the assessment of national trends, but cannot be used at the State level. Phase I involved the selection of four States to receive the bulk of the project's attention. It obtained and analyzed panel hate crime data from the UCR, NIBRS, and the NCVS, as well as other ongoing data collection programs. Phase II, which will begin in August 2011, will involve fieldwork and surveys in the four selected States to obtain contextual and supplementary that will augment and interpret the secondary analyses conducted in Phase I. The criteria for selecting the four States for the study are outlined. 2 figures and 1 table


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