Study objectives are to develop a comprehensive bias crime assessment tool for use by community organizations and law enforcement to identify and reach victims of bias crime.
Data collection for the study was conducted in two states: California (Los Angeles County) and New Jersey. The selection of these two locations as project sites was motivated by methodological and practical considerations. These sites have large, diverse, representative populations that meet our study criteria and significant numbers of police-reported hate crimes. Moreover, L.A. County and New Jersey have the same set of protected classes under bias crime law: race/ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, and disability. Both have interpreted bias law in courts to allow bias crimes with mixed motives and crimes based on biased target selection in addition to those based on expressed hostility.
The data collection is a convenience sampling of community members and university students in New Jersey and California. The majority (75%) of the quantitative data sample consisted of participants from California, which was the stronger of the two sites in terms of organizational partnerships. Two-thirds of the sample were university students, as past research has shown that youth frequently experiences bias incidents including hate crimes. Further, many of the students who participated were enrolled in criminal justice classes, which implies that they have some awareness of crimes in general and hate crimes in particular, and were thus able to answer survey questions knowledgably.
Adults living in California and New Jersey
The data file (n=1,326; 513 variables) contains variables on respondents' personal experiences with crime and discrimination, details surrounding the most recent personal experience with hate or bias, details surrounding the most upsetting personal experience with hate or bias, perception of the offender(s), reaction to incident, whether or not incident was reported to police, police response, level of satisfaction with police response, bothersome feelings experienced in past month, feelings about potential future hate crime victimization, actions taken to feel safer, and views on police, laws, and rules. Demographic variables include age, race/ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, living situation, whether respondent has children, marital status, whether born in the U.S. and whether parents born in the U.S., immigration status, level of education, and employment status.
Several Likert-type scales were used.