In addition, the lack of willingness of governments to fight discrimination cannot be ignored, especially since existing policies and legal frameworks for controlling discrimination has been proved quite problematic as also explained below.
2. Hate crime in the 21st century society
2.1 Hate crime - characteristics
Different views have been developed in the literature in regard to the characteristics of hate crimes. Iganski (2008) describes hate crime as a crime committed by ‘someone who has selected his victim in terms of specific criteria, such as race, color, ethnicity, disability, gender and so on’ (Iganski 2008, p.3). In other words, the selection of the victim according to specific criteria is a critical requirement so that a crime is characterized as a hate crime (Altschiller 2005). However, the fact that a crime can be characterized as a hate crime only if the existence of hate is proved has caused important problems in confronting hate crime: in many cases, hate crimes are not characterized as such since the actual motives of the perpetrator are not identified (Roulstone and Mason-Bish 2012). This means that many crimes have been falsely diagnosed as common crimes while they meet the criteria of a hate crime (Roulstone and Mason-Bish 2012).
Hate crimes are based on the racial/ cultural or other characteristics of the victims, i.e. they require the existence of discrimination in terms of race, culture, disability or other social characteristic (Altschiller 2005). For Perry (2009) the expansion of discrimination, as a condition favouring hate crimes, can have an important implication: hate groups can be created setting the social order in severe risk. . In other words, the promotion of discrimination, as particularly supported by the media, can lead individuals to be organized in groups targeting people with specific characteristics, such as race, culture or disability (Perry 2009). An important aspect of hate crimes is the following one: such crimes can be developed ‘not only against individuals but also against on property’ (Altschiller 2005, p.108). 2.2 Aspects of hate crime in the 21st century When referring to the development of hate crime in the 21st century, emphasis should be given to the following fact: the specific type of crime seems to be highly related to US. In fact, the extremely high number of hate crime incidents in US during the 21st century reveals a relationship between hate crime and geography (Gerstenfeld 2004); indeed, it seems that ‘in the 21st century hate crime has been highly favoured by the political and social environment of US’ (Gerstenfeld 2004, p.12). It should be noted that for the 21st century the categorization of hate crime in US has been related to specific criteria, such as color and race while other criteria, that would be also valuable in characterizing a crime as a hate crime have been ignored. For example, in the 21st century ‘a crime against black people or against Jews is characterized as hate crime while a crime against the members of a union or police officers