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Hate Crimes in America: My Research Paper
Keywords: Hate Crimes, Crimes of Prejudicial Bias, Bias Motivated Crimes
This paper provides analyzes the various aspects of hate crimes. It identifies common attributes and influences associated with hate crimes and their trends. It illustrates how policies are created and applied. It examines the effectiveness of relevant laws for combating hate crimes within the United States.
Through examining the laws and the statistics reported, there is a clear link between the effectiveness of relevant laws and hate crimes committed. This paper will illustrate how hate crime statistics fluctuate at the enactment of each new law.
Because our nation is one that thrives on violence in television, video games, and other media sources, it may be next to impossible to stop hate crimes. Law enforcement agencies are adept at is creating new legislation, including laws recognizing the type of crime as a hate crime against a protected social class.
According to hate crime statistics collected annually by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the number of hate crimes committed has slowly declined over the last five years. For any individual examining reported statistics, this may demonstrate a move in a positive direction for law enforcement agencies. In order to determine if hate crimes occur less, one must examine the various aspects of the crime. Over the last twenty years, law enforcement agencies have enacted various laws to define, recognize, and combat hate crimes in society. Why does Congress spend millions of dollar enacting hate crime laws? How exactly does each law influence the crimes occurrence? In order to combat hate crime activity, the core influence of the prejudice must be determined. The purpose of this study was to evaluate hate crime influences, trends, policies, and effectiveness of relevant laws. This study addressed the following issues:
1. How does the first amendment protection for freedom of speech, including hate speech, affect the occurrence of hate crimes?
2. What procedures are used to determine if a member of a certain social group (i.e.: racial group, religion, sexual orientation, etc.) becomes the victim of a crime, that determine if it is a hate related crime?
3. What is the relationship between prosecution of hate crimes and media bias?
4. Do perpetrators who commit hate crimes receive longer sentences because of the classification as a hate crime?
5. How effective are law enforcement policies in reducing hate crimes?
This paper explains hate crime trends and activity while taking into consideration the influences commonly known to cause hate crimes and what policies law enforcement agencies are creating to combat these crimes. This paper will address whether hate crimes are happening less frequently or reported less frequently. It will demonstrate to what extent laws mitigate or eliminate future hate crimes.
Each time a law is enacted, statistic reports demonstrate a change in hate crime occurrences. These changes do not imply that crimes are occurring more frequently, but rather that enforcement is augmented and enhanced to protect specific social classes from victimization. The most recent years demonstrate hate crime occurrences within a general range; however, the bias motivations fluctuate from category to category.
Given the five areas of address, it is apparent that the First Amendment has no direct protection over hate crimes. Instead, it affects words leading up to a hate crime. Once a person threatens another or acts upon their belief, they are no longer protected. In order to determine if a crime is a hate crime, law enforcement agents must thoroughly investigate the crime to determine a motive. Although the First Amendment protects a person’s speech, if they make a racial slur and then commit violence as a result, they lose their protection.
Research has uncovered that the media influences hate crimes by creating a false sense of conviction. The media tends to exploit cases to make them appear to be a hate crime before they are proven in the court of law. This is apparent in the current case involving George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin, which is discussed in full below. When it comes to determining the sentencing structure for perpetrators of hate crimes, they are punished by a longer or separate sentences for a crime motivated by hate. Through research and expert opinions, it can be determined that policies are not an effective measure for mitigating hate crimes; instead, they make them easier to detect and punish perpetrators.