Defining Hate Crimes Hate crimes has become an increasing problem here in the united states ranging from racial hatred to gender discrimination but what are hate crimes? According to Dr. Jack McDevitt, a criminologist at Northeastern University in Boston Hate crimes are message crimes, Hate crimes are defined as crimes that are violent act against people, property, or organizations because of the group to which they belong or identify with. The coined term "hate crimes" was first used No matter how many different definitions there are for hate crimes but we all can agree that hate crimes are wrong and immoral. But within hate crimes they are many different types of hate crimes. One of the main reasons that people commit hate crimes would have to be because of racial hatred. Racial Hatred is a major factor in hate crimes with African Americans being the main target.

According to the FBI database in 1996, 4, 831 out of the 7, 947 such crimes reported to the FBI, or 60%, were promulgated because of race, with close to two-thirds (62%) targeting African Americans. African Americans may be the most targeted race but other races are targeted as well, such as Hispanics, Chinese and after the recent September 11 attacks on the world trade center Arab Americans have become an increasingly alarming target in the United States. And in addition to racial hate crimes there are crimes that involve religious discrimination, gender discrimination, homosexuality and in some cases people with disabilities. Religious Discrimination Most religiously motivated hate crimes are acts of vandalism, although personal attacks are not uncommon. A good example of this would be In 1997 SS lightning bolts and swastikas were among the anti-Semitic graffiti discovered in Hebrew and Yiddish books in the University of Chicago library, and an explosive device was detonated at the door of a Jewish center in New York City. But personal assaults against Jews are not uncommon.

That same year, two men with a BB gun entered a Wisconsin synagogue and started shooting during morning prayers. In 1995 in Cincinnati, a gang member revealed that one of the victims of his group's initiation ceremony was chosen just because he was Jewish. And recently because of the September 11 attacks Muslims have been the constant target of hate crimes in America. Gender Discrimination Gender discrimination is also a constant problem in America. In this are of hate crimes women are predominantly the target for these crimes. This type of discrimination happens in every aspect of everyday American life.

Such places as the workplace for an example In America Many people perceive people that commit hate crimes as crazed, hate-filled neo-Nazis or "skinheads." But in all actually these crimes are committed by people like you and me in some senses it could be your next door neighbor or your best friend but research by Dr. Edward Dunbar, a clinical psychologist at the University of California, Los Angeles, reveals that of 1, 459 hate crimes committed in the Los Angeles area in the period 1994 to 1995, fewer than 5% of the offenders were members of organized hate groups. Most hate crimes are carried out by otherwise law-abiding people like you and me who see nothing wrong with their actions. Alcohol and drugs sometimes help fuel these crimes, but the main reason appears to be personal prejudice, a situation that colors people's judgment, blinding the aggressors to the immorality of what they are doing.

Such prejudice is most likely rooted in an environment that disdains someone who is "different" or sees that difference as threatening. One expression of this prejudice is the perception that society sanctions attacks on certain groups. For example, Dr. Karen Franklin, a forensic psychology fellow at the Washington Institute for Mental Illness Research and Training, has found that, in some settings, offenders perceive that they have crimes reported to the FBI, or 60%, were promulgated because of race, with close to two-thirds (62%) targeting African Americans.