Date of Graduation

5-2015

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Sociology (MA)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Sociology and Criminal Justice

Advisor

Brent L. Smith

Committee Member

Casey T. Harris

Second Committee Member

Christopher Shields

Keywords

Social sciences; Bias crimes; Hate crimes; Homicides

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to examine the relationships between Social-structural characteristics and bias homicide across counties in the United States between the years 1990 and 2014. While there have been several notable studies on this topic, most have been conducted in single cities or at the state level, thus overlooking variations across community types for the broader United States. Moreover, scholars have failed to distinguish violent from non-violent bias crimes in their research. Drawing from several ecological theories of crime, this study seeks to contribute to the literature by asking (1) what are the structural predictors of the likelihood of bias homicide occurrences? (2) do these same structural predictors affect the number of incidents across those counties that experience multiple bias homicides? To answer these questions, data on bias homicide are derived from the Extremist Crime Database (ECDB) and paired with Social and structural variables from the U.S. Census Bureau. Results are discussed relative to the goals of understanding where fatal bias crimes are more likely to occur as a means of informing law enforcement and policymakers interested in preventing and responding to this form of crime.

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