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Bias crime represents the nadir of intergroup relationships and contact. Prejudice and bigotry give rise to bias crime, and bigotry accompanies bias offenses. Protected categories of victims according to the bias crime statutes include ethnic, racial, religious, and sexual minorities as well as those with mental or physical disability status. Although debate about the criminalization of bias motives abounds, most of those who study bias crime agree that combating these types of offenses is important. This is because bias crime is different from similarly egregious crimes; the effects of bias crime extend well beyond the initial victim. There are physical, psychological, financial, and societal costs associated with this from of criminal activity.

Most people have a sense of what is meant by prejudice, and social scientists ...

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