Earlier this week an increase in hate crime was reported across England and Wales in the last year according to official figures from the Home Office.
Further details can be found at this link:
As someone with a keen interest in studying hate crime, I’d like to make two points for your consideration.
Firstly, as revealed in the article, the rise in hate crime might not actually equate to a rise in the actual numbers of hate crimes. It might simply mean that police are getting better at recording hate crimes and more victims of hate crimes are coming forward, which despite the statistics, is something to be celebrated. This is a good example of how statistics, even official statistics from reputable sources, can sometimes be unintentionally misleading. Of course, there might have genuinely been a rise in hate crime, but it would be wrong to assume that there definitely has been an increase – we must keep a critical mindset when evaluating statistics rather than accepting them as automatically being true. And it’s widely accepted within the discipline of criminology that a lot of hate crimes are still unreported to the police.
The second point is that for a crime to be recorded as a hate crime merely requires the victim or a witness of a hate crime to believe that the crime was motivated by hate. Obviously, being a victim of crime is still a horrible experience irrespective of whether the crime was a hate or a non-hate crime. But leaving it up to the victim of a crime (who might not be in the best mental state) to interpret whether or not it actually was a hate crime is, in my personal opinion, seriously flawed. This is because it may mean that the actual number of hate crimes is very different from the numbers given by official statistics. How can every victim of a hate crime be 100% certain that the crime was motivated by hate?
Criminology students at the University of Leicester have the option of studying hate crime in their third year. The University of Leicester is also home to The Centre for Hate Studies. Further details can be found at this link: