October 23, 2020 at 8:29 pm PDT | by Brody Levesque
LA County hate crimes remain at elevated levels

LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations (LACCHR) released its annual report Friday of hate crimes reported throughout Los Angeles County for the calendar year 2019. While hate crimes remain virtually unchanged from the previous year, increasing 523 in 2018 to 524 in 2019, this high represents a 36% increase since hitting a 30-year low in 2013.

“It is troubling that hate crimes in L.A. County have been rising for six years in a row,” said Robin Toma, LACCHR Executive Director. “We also saw the highest rate of violence in twelve years.”

“African Americans continue to be grossly over-represented in racial, sexual orientation and anti-transgender hate crimes,” said Commission President Guadalupe Montano. “We’re also alarmed about the record number of reported anti-transgender crimes.”

Since 1980, LACCHR has compiled, analyzed, and produced this annual report of hate crime data submitted by law enforcement agencies, educational institutions, and community-based organizations.

“During this pandemic, it’s as important as ever to engage in ongoing dialogue and collaboration,” said the Chair of the LA County Board of Supervisors, Kathryn Barger. “I thank the Human Relations Commission for this important and timely work that seeks to protect life and property against crime in all of its forms.”

Earlier this past year the Board of Supervisors, LACCHR and its partners have working to combat hate in LA County, launched the “L.A. vs Hate” initiative.

“While the annual hate crimes reported remain steady this year, this number is still too high. Marginalized communities continue to be targeted and discriminated against. LA County must continue to combat racism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, and white supremacy,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis, representing the First Supervisorial District. “I’m proud that the County launched the innovative LA vs. Hate campaign to urge residents to stand against hate. But this year’s hate crimes report show that we have more to do. We have to ensure that Los Angeles County is truly a place where everyone can be who they are without fear.”

The report’s significant findings include the following:

  1. There were 524 hate crimes reported in the County in 2019, a slight increase from the previous year. This is the largest number reported since 2009. For the past six years, hate crimes have been trending upwards.
  2. The overall rate of hate-motivated violence increased from 61% to 65%, the highest percentage reported since 2007.
  3. After declining two years in a row, white supremacist crimes jumped 38% in 2019.
  4. Racially-motivated offenses remained by far the largest category, constituting 49% of all hate crimes. African Americans only comprise 9% of L.A. County residents but make up 47% of racial hate crime victims. African Americans were also over-represented as victims of sexual orientation and anti-transgender crimes. Latino/as represented 25% of racial hate crime victims and were the most likely racial/ethnic group to be victims of violent racially-motivated crime (88%). Anti-immigrant slurs were used in 48% of anti-Latino/a attacks. Crimes targeting Asians and Pacific Islanders increased 32%, and anti-Middle Eastern crimes rose from 7 to 17 (an increase of 143%).
  5. Anti-transgender crimes rose 64% from 25 to 41, the largest number ever reported. The rate of violence was the highest of any victim group (92%).
  6. 75% of racial hate crimes and 32% of religious hate crimes were violent.
  7. Crimes targeting gay men, lesbians, and LGBT organizations comprised 19% of all reported hate crimes. 79% of these crimes were violent.
  8. There were 48 crimes in which alleged perpetrators used specifically anti-immigrant language. This is the second largest number of crimes reported with such slurs since this report started tracking xenophobic slurs in 2001.
  9. Religious crimes rose 11% and made up 19% of all hate crimes. 89% of these crimes targeted the Jewish community, an 8% increase.
  10. The largest number of hate crimes took place in the Metro Service Planning Area, which stretches from West Hollywood to Boyle Heights, followed by the San Fernando Valley region. However, if one compares the populations of the areas to the numbers of reported hate crimes, the Metro region had the highest rate, followed by Western region (which includes West L.A., Beverly Hills, Culver City, and a number of affluent beach communities). 
  11. Hate crimes committed by gang members declined 37%. Anti-African American crimes committed by gang members plummeted 72%

“As stated in my July 21st motion to establish an antiracist policy agenda for Los Angeles County, Black people are disproportionately represented on the low end of several indices of social and economic well-being, including homelessness, COVID-19 fatalities, and joblessness. Sadly, racially motivated attacks are no different. According to the 2019 Hate Crimes Report, Black people were targeted in 47 percent of racial hate crimes, while constituting only nine percent of the County’s population,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas.

“For those who believe that racism is no longer a problem, I invite you to review the examples this report provides of these vile and cowardly crimes, more than 70% of which were classified as violent in nature.”

“LA County has adopted and publicized a number of promising programs to promote inclusion, but the County cannot be fully insulated from the results of the torrent of hatred and intolerance that has emanated from the White House for four long years,” said Supervisor Sheila Kuehl. “I am deeply saddened by this year’s report, including recording the largest number of anti-transgender hate crimes ever, and I am hopeful that new national leadership will put this nation back on track to recognizing every person’s fundamental human rights.”

In response to the rise in hate, the Board of Supervisors directed LACCHR to develop an initiative to prevent and respond to hate incidents in the County, which resulted in “L.A. vs Hate.” The initiative has three components:

(1) a community-driven marketing campaign to encourage residents and organizations to unite against and report acts of hate;

(2) the first government hotline (via 211) for reporting acts of hate and providing assistance to hate victims; and

(3) a network of community agencies that provide hate prevention and rapid response services. Since launching in June 2020, “L.A. vs Hate” content has been viewed over 186 million times and has been shared to a social media audience of over 7 million. Calls to 211-LA reporting hate acts have nearly doubled, from 60 in June 2020 to 118 in September.

To view the complete report, including hate crime maps, graphs and tables, please visit hrc.lacounty.gov. For specific race/ethnicity data and examples, please click here for anti-African American hate crimes, click here for anti-Latino hate crimes, and click here for anti-Asian hate crimes.

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