Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Sociology

Content Description

1 online resource (v, 165 pages) : illustrations.

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Steven F. Messner

Committee Members

Glenn D. Deane, Joanne M. Kaufman


Bias Crimes, Hate Crimes, Social Constructionism, Social Disorganization, Social Threat, Violent Crimes, Hate crimes, Minorities, Crime and race, Violent crimes, Victims of crimes surveys, Social conflict

Subject Categories

Criminology | Sociology


This research examines racially biased crimes across US cities, utilizing social threat and a general criminality perspective based on social disorganization and strain theories. Racially biased crime is compared to violent crime in general and to unbiased racially disaggregated homicide to further examine the effects of social threat and general crime variables on different forms of violent crime. Data is compiled mainly from the 1990 and 2000 US Censuses, the 1996-2000 Uniform Crime Reports and the 1996-2000 Supplemental Homicide Reports. The research shows bias crimes cannot be explained utilizing general crime predictors. In particular, anti-Black violent bias crimes committed by Whites are mainly driven by economic forces, though not necessarily economically threatening conditions. Anti-White violent bias crimes committed by Blacks are more similar to homicides of Whites committed by Blacks, which is consistent with prior research. Additionally, the research shows the importance of complying with hate crime reporting requirements and region, again consistent with prior research. That is, the more frequently a city reports data, the higher the counts of bias crimes. Cities located in the South are less likely to have high counts of bias crimes, suggesting a lack of compliance with reporting requirements. These findings pertaining to reporting compliance offer support for social constructionist perspectives in the study of bias crimes.

Included in

Criminology Commons