FSU criminology professors receive National Science Foundation grant to examine hate crime reporting

Sylwia Piatkowska Assistant Professor Criminology and Criminal Justice
Sylwia Piatkowska Assistant Professor Criminology and Criminal Justice

A Florida State University research institute has received funding from the National Science Foundation to explore how hate crimes are reported and underreported. 

The Hate Crime Research and Policy Institute at FSU’s College of Criminology and Criminal Justice will receive $236,985 from the NSF over the course of two years to fund research by Assistant Professors of Criminology Sylwia Piatkowska and Brendan Lantz.

“It has long been known that hate crimes are underreported,” Piatkowska said. “With this National Science Foundation grant, we plan to explore the sources, causes and extent of the underreporting, and hopefully provide ways to address those problems in the future.”

While the Hate Crime Statistics Act of 1990 requires the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to publicly report hate crime statistics, hate crimes are often under-identified,  Piatkowska said. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, there were 8,552 victims of hate crimes in the United States in 2019. 

“The deviation in the nature and extent of hate crime victimization and the underreporting of hate crimes across local communities are areas that are now largely unexplored,” she said.

Findings from the project will aid scholars, policymakers and the public on issues related to hate crimes, including variation in hate crime and reporting, data-collection strategies, better identification of strategies to tend to victims and assessing programs related to hate crime victimization and reporting.

The Hate Crime Research & Policy Institute at Florida State University is committed to advancing research on hate crime offending and bias victimization. The institute examines the ways that hate, bigotry, and extremism influence the victimization of people on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability and other personal characteristics. This includes research related to spatial and community-level influences on hate crime, victim interactions with the criminal justice system, and the impact of public policy on hate crime offending. Hate crimes have increased significantly across the nation in recent years, and the mission of the institute is to (1) conduct research to advance knowledge on hate crime and (2) develop evidence-based recommendations for improving policies related to hate and bias crime.