Hate crime violence in the context of far-right mobilization and refugee immigration: North Rhine-Westphalia 2012-2019

Time period: 11/2020-03/2022

Funding: NRW Ministry of Culture Science (CoRE-NRW-Projekt)

The research project investigates changes in the quality and dynamics of violent hate crimes, using information from an official reporting system on politically motivated crimes by the police (all registered hate violence offenses)  as well as files of the prosecutors' offices (cleared offenses).

The guiding research questions address the type and severity of offenses, the interactions between persons involved in the incidents, as well as offender characteristics and offender networks in the observation period. Analytically, we focus on radicalization propositions.

In order to answer the research questions, free-text accounts of the crimes are used to obtain data -  such as motivation, the type and severity of acts, and interactions between perpetrators, victims, and bystanders.

As the data collection  scheme achieves a complete survey of all officially reported hate crimes in the observation period (police documents), severe violent crimes as well as low-threshold assaults can be investigated. In doing so, the project is able to add well founded insights on violent hate crimes in a context of widespread right-wing mobilization efforts. The long observation period is made possible by the utilization of data from a previous self-funded research project.

The analytical approach of hate crimes leads to an inclusion of criminal acts motivated by  extreme right-wing ideologies as well as criminal acts motivated by religious or other ideologies. As violent hate crimes are mostly rooted in the extreme right  (and because criminal acts of right wingoffenders committed „against leftists“ are in addition  covered in the project to achieve comparability with results from research on the extreme right)– the research projects’ primary contributions in CoRE are in the analysis of right wing extremism.

The project is supported by Ministry of the Interior of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia and the State Office of Criminal Investigation of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia