A Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence led by the University of Maryland

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Extreme Hatred: Revisiting the Hate Crime and Terrorism Relationship


Extreme Hatred: Revisiting the Hate Crime and Terrorism Relationship

June 6, 2016Beth Schwartz

New research led by START Pre-Doctoral Fellow Colleen Mills, along with researchers Joshua Freilich and Steven Chermak, examines the link between hate crime (bias-motivated crime) and terrorism at the county level, focusing on far-right extremism in the United States and pulling data from the U.S. Extremist Crime Database (ECDB) and the Global Terrorism Database (GTD).

The report’s major findings include:

  • Counties experiencing increases in one type of bias-motivated or extremist violence are likely to see significant increases in other types of extremist activity.
  • The results indicate that increases in counties’ fatal hate crimes by the far-right are associated with approximately four times more far-right terrorist acts. Furthermore, the results also show that increases in non-right-wing terrorist acts see between a 64% and 78% increase in far-right fatal hate crime.
  • The results support hypotheses drawn from the tenets of group conflict theories in that greater minority presence and diversity as well as increasing minority presence and diversity over time are correlated with increases in far-right activity.
  • Contrary to expectations, greater levels of poverty are associated with fewer far-right acts. Alternatively, counties suffering from other poor or worsening economic conditions (greater unemployment and increasing poverty over time) see associated increases in both types of far-right violence.

To read the full report, published in Crime and Delinquency, click here.

To read the research brief, click here.