LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations Friday released its annual assessment of reported hate crimes and found that the number of such incidents are increasing.
According to the county’s 2019 Hate Crime Report, although reports of hate crimes increased from 523 incidents in 2018 to 524 in 2019, they have been rising incrementally in the last several years. This is also the largest number reported since 2009, the report stated.
“Now that we’re in extraordinary times — the confluence of the coronavirus pandemic and widespread protests for racial justice and amidst … an election campaign of great consequence — it makes it more important than ever to understand the landscape of hate crime in our county,” said Robin Toma, the executive director of the Los Angeles Human Relations Commission, during a broadcast presentation of the report.
Reported hate crimes in Los Angeles County rose 36% between 2013 and 2019.
The largest number of reported 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, the report stated. At 21 hate crimes in 2019, the Antelope Valley region had the second he lowest number of hate crimes. But at 5.3 hate crimes per 100,000 residents, the Antelope Valley had the third highest rate of hate crimes of all the eight regions in Los Angeles County.
The report have details on a violent hate crime that occurred in Lancaster. According to the report:
In Lancaster, a Latino male was arguing with another Latino male on a bus. A black male victim asked the suspect to stop. The suspect replied, “What are you going to do about it, N—er?” The two began to argue and started fighting. The suspect pinned the victim to the front windshield of the bus, pulled out a knife and stabbed the victim multiple times in the face while calling him a “N—er.” The suspect was arrested by sheriff’s deputies. The victim was transported to a hospital with several deep lacerations in his head, neck and face.”
After declining for two years in a row, the report stated allegations of white supremacist crimes in the Los Angeles County were up 38% in 2019. Racially motivated crimes remained the largest category, making up 49% of all hate crimes.
The county stated African Americans only comprise 9% of county residents but make up 47% of racial hate crime victims. African Americans were also the majority of victims of sexual orientation and anti-transgender crimes. Latinx residents represented 25% of reported racial hate crime victims and were the most likely racial/ethnic group report violent racially motivated crime.
Anti-immigrant slurs were used in 48% of anti-Latinx attacks. Crimes targeting Asians and Pacific Islanders increased 32%, and crimes described as anti-Middle Eastern rose from 7 to 17, an increase of 143%. 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 at 92%.
“It is troubling that hate crimes in L.A. County have been rising for six years in a row,” Toma said. “We also saw the highest rate of violence in 12 years.” In 2019, 75% of reported racial hate crimes and 32% of religious hate crimes were violent.
Crimes targeting gay men, lesbians and LGBT organizations comprised 19% of all reported hate crimes, and 79% of these crimes were violent, the report stated. 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 the report started tracking xenophobic slurs in 2001.
Religious crimes rose 11% and made up 19% of all hate crimes, and 89% of these crimes targeted the Jewish community, an 8% increase. Hate crimes committed by gang members declined 37%. Anti-African American crimes committed by gang members fell 72% between 2018 and 2019.
According to the report, there is no uniform way in which law enforcement defines reported hate crimes, which could be due to a variety of reasons.
“It is reasonable, therefore, to conclude that the hate crimes documented in this report likely represent only a portion of hate crimes actually committed in 2019,” the report stated.
“During this pandemic, it’s as important as ever to engage in ongoing dialogue and collaboration,” Supervisor Kathryn Barger said. “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.”
The commission has compiled its annual hate report since 1980.
The full report can be found at https://hrc.lacounty.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/2019-Hate-Crime-Report.pdf.