Reported hate crimes in Los Angeles County increased by five percent last year to 508, the Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations (LACCHR) announced Oct. 18. For the second consecutive year, there were a record number of anti-transgender crimes. Ninety-four percent of those were violent.
Even amid a slight decline in crimes against gay men, lesbians, and LGBT organizations, the Commission found 76 percent involved violence—a higher proportion than the number of violent hate crimes committed last year on the basis of race or religion. All of the incidents involving lesbian victims were violent.
Since 2013, the Commission reports there has been a 32 percent increase in the total number of reported hate crimes. “We are extremely concerned that reported hate crimes in L.A. County have been trending upwards for four years in a row,” said Robin Toma, LACCHR Executive Director, in a press release. “The rise in L.A. County mirrors increases in hate crimes in most major U.S. cities in 2017.”
This year’s numbers come just after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo called for an investigation into whether a hate crime was committed by a member or members of the far-right, pro-Trump organization Proud Boys during a fight between the group and protestors from the anti-fascist organization Antifa. A video clip taken during the incident, which unfolded at a Republican Party event in Manhattan, shows a member of the Proud Boys kicking a protestor while yelling “faggot.” He was arrested Oct. 18 on charges of attempted assault and riot.
Some studies have linked President Trump’s rhetoric and tweets to the nationwide year-over-year rise in anti-black, anti-Muslim, and anti-Latino hate crimes. L.A. County officials note nine suspects referenced Trump’s name during their commission of alleged hate crimes last year. Half of the crimes reported in the county in 2017 were racially motivated. There were 15 and 16 percent increases in hate crimes committed against African American and Latino/Latina residents, respectively.
“We are truly alarmed at the continued over-representation of African Americans in racial hate crimes and the extremely high rates of violence directed against gay men, lesbians and transgender victims,” said Commission President Jarret Barrios in a press release.
Black and Latino/Latina people were overrepresented in anti-LGBT crimes last year, the Commission reports. In January 2018, a transgender Los Angeles woman, Viccky Gutierrez, was stabbed—and her body set ablaze—in a brutal hate crime that underscores the type of violence encountered by trans people of color.