Distinctive characteristics of assaults motivated by bias

Steven F. Messner, Suzanne McHugh, Richard B. Felson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

98 Scopus citations


This research examines the ways in which assaults motivated by bias are similar to and different from other types of assault. Analyses are based on data from the National Incident Based Reporting System (NIBRS), pooled across eleven states. We find evidence suggesting that offenders motivated by racial and ethnic bias are more likely to be versatile offenders than specialists: they are more (not less) likely to be using drugs and alcohol during the crime than conventional offenders. Bias offenders are also more likely to seriously injure the victim. Finally, we find that the risks of bias crime victimization (relative to the risk of assault victimization generally) are similar for blacks and other racial minorities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)585-618
Number of pages34
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Law


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