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A Pathway Approach to the Study of Bias Crime Offenders

NCJ Number
Date Published
66 pages

This report, which is part of the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) project, aims to improve understanding of the characteristics of bias crime and offenders in the United States, based on the collection and analysis of data on a national sample of 966 adult offenders who committed hate crime in the United States from 1990 through 2018.


The database analyzed is named “The Bias Incidents and Actors Study” (BIAS). BIAS includes data on offenders who perpetrated violent and nonviolent crimes motivated by bias based on 1) race, ethnicity, or ancestry; 2) religion; 3) sexual orientation, gender, or gender identity; 4) disability; or 5) age. BIAS has just over 80 variable fields that cover the characteristics of an offender. The variables include demographic traits, education and employment histories, criminal records, peer associations, and hate-group affiliations. BIAS also contains details on the nature of the offenders’ crimes, such as whether they were violent or nonviolent, spontaneous or premeditated, perpetrated alone or with groups, or while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Based on BIAS data analysis, this report focuses discussion on four conclusions: 1) there is considerable diversity in the behaviors, experiences, and characteristics of hate-crime offenders in the United States; 2) offender characteristics vary significantly, depending on the nature of their prejudicial views; 3) there are a number of factors that distinguish violent hate-crime offenders from those who commit less severe crimes; and 4) common offender typologies often do not capture the complexity of the motivations for committing hate crimes. The overall conclusion of this analysis of BIAS data is that the tools, policies, and programs implemented to monitor and rehabilitate hate crime offenders must be flexible and address risks that vary in a heterogenous population. 8 tables, 2 figures, and 70 references

Date Published: January 1, 2021