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White Supremacist Activity and Crossburnings in North Carolina

NCJ Number
Journal of Quantitative Criminology Volume: 14 Issue: 3 Dated: September 1998 Pages: 263-282
D P Green; A Rich
Date Published
20 pages
Crossburning in North Carolina was examined with respect to whether it increases in areas where white supremacist organizations such as the Christian Knights of the Ku Klux Klan have held rallies or demonstrations, based on data from two public interest groups, Klanwatch and North Carolinians Against Racial and Religious Violence.
The data covered crossburnings and white supremacist activities in 100 North Carolina counties annually during 1987-93. The data were analyzed using forms of Poisson regression analysis. Results indicated that the base rate at which crossburnings occur doubled in counties where a demonstration has taken place, even after controlling for the possibility of reporting biases and other confounding factors. However, none of the suspected crossburners had apparent ties to white supremacist groups. Therefore, it may be that white supremacist rallies encourage fellow travelers to engage in this form of racial intimidation. Findings suggested that deterrence of such hate crime in areas with higher risk of such incidents will require lawmakers to publicize and endorse crossburning laws, police and community agencies to encourage victims and witnesses to report incidents, and police officers to receive training in identifying and understanding the significance of hate crimes. In addition, prosecutors must be convinced that the evidentiary requirements for building hate crime cases are worth their while, and judges must be willing to impose sentences that receive public attention. Tables, footnotes, and 34 references (Author abstract modified)