Differences by Victim Race and Ethnicity in Race- and Ethnicity-Motivated Violent Bias Crimes: A National Study

J Interpers Violence. 2021 Jul;36(13-14):6297-6318. doi: 10.1177/0886260518818428. Epub 2018 Dec 17.


Over 80% of bias-motivated violent victimization is motivated by race or ethnicity and over 50% of bias victimization occurs in non-Hispanic Whites (NHW). Our aim was to determine the risk and health impacts of race/ethnicity-motivated violent victimization by victim race/ethnicity. We examined data from the National Crime Victimization Survey (2003-2015) to estimate violent victimization risk by victim race/ethnicity across race/ethnicity bias victimization, other types of bias victimizations, and non-bias violent victimizations. We examined incident and offender characteristics for race/ethnicity-motivated victimization by victim race/ethnicity. The risk of race/ethnicity-motivated violent victimization was greater for non-Hispanic Blacks (NHB) and Hispanics than for NHWs (incidence rate ratios [IRR] = 1.4; 95% confidence interval [CI] = [1.0, 2.0], and IRR = 1.6; 95% CI = [1.2, 2.1]). This translates into an additional 46.7 incidents per 100,000 person-years (95% CI = [1.4, 92.1]) for the NHB population and an additional 60.3 incidents per 100,000 person-years (95% CI = [20.3, 100.4]) for the Hispanic population. Violent incidents for NHB victims more frequently resulted in injury or medical care. Nearly 40% of NHB victims reported difficulties at school or work related to the incident where only 21.5% of NHWs and 11.7% of Hispanic victims reported similar problems. Roughly 37% of NHB victims identified a NHW offender and 45% of NHW victims identified a NHB offender. Hispanic victims identified NHB or NHW offenders in over 70% of incidents. Although literature suggests that NHWs account for the majority of bias victimizations, the risk of non-fatal violent victimization motivated by race/ethnicity is greater for NHBs and Hispanics. Crimes perpetrated against NHBs are likely more severe and victim/offender racial incongruity is common. Findings provide empiric evidence on race/ethnicity-related structural disadvantage with adverse health consequences.

Keywords: hate crimes; race or ethnicity bias crimes; violence exposure; violent offenders.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aggression
  • Crime
  • Crime Victims*
  • Criminals*
  • Ethnicity
  • Humans