The Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations (LACCHR) today released its annual hate crimes report Wednesday morning, indicating that for 2011, the number of hate crimes rose from 427 to 489 – a 15% increase from 2010. However, the report said, the annual total is still the second lowest recorded during the past 22 years.
From the LACCHR press release:
All major categories of hate crimes increased: both race/ethnicity/national origin crimes and sexual orientation crimes rose 13%, and religion-motivated crimes grew by 24%. Hate crimes reflecting white supremacist ideology rose from being 18 to 21% of all hate crimes….
“The 15% increase in hate crime is cause for concern, since it exceeds the increase in crime in general,” LACCHR Executive Director Robin Toma commented. “But we are encouraged that across the board hate crimes based on race, sexual orientation, and religion are still among the lowest reported in the past two decades.” He added that the decreases in gang involved hate crimes in the four areas targeted by the county’s Gang Violence Reduction Initiative come at the end of multi-year efforts by law enforcement crack-downs on gangs with histories of racial violence, and by LACCHR and Los Angeles County agencies and partners to increase reentry, violence intervention, and community engagement.
“While we are heartened by the relatively low numbers, we are alarmed that 21% of hate crimes show evidence of white supremacist ideology and 12% of hate crimes were committed by gang members,” Commission President Kathay Feng remarked. “This means that potentially a full third of hate crimes are committed by mission offenders who believe that they are part of a larger cause to terrorize entire communities.”
About half of all hate crimes were racially-motivated. Once again, African Americans were targeted most frequently (60%), and a greater percentage of hate crimes were committed by gang members.
A quarter of all hate crimes was motivated by the sexual orientation of the victims. As in the past, the overwhelming majority (84%) targeted gay men. Homophobic crimes were more likely to be of a violent nature (71%) than either racial (54%) or religious crimes (20%).
Religion-motivated crimes constituted 18% of all hate crimes. Consistent with previous years, the overwhelming number, 77%, were anti-Jewish.
Although there were no hate-motivated murders in 2011, there was a case in which gang members attempted to murder three African American victims.
Hate crimes occurred throughout the variety of regions of Los Angeles County, but the largest numbers were concentrated in the San Fernando Valley followed by the Metro region (stretching from West Hollywood to Boyle Heights). When accounting for population, the Metro region had highest rate of hate crimes followed by the Antelope Valley.
Additionally, the report said:
As in the past, of the motivation categories with the largest numbers of crimes, sexual orientation-based crimes had the highest rate of violence (71%) followed by racial crimes (54%) and those motivated by religious bias (20%). The rate of violence of racial crimes dropped due to an increase in the number of vandalisms and declines in aggravated and simple assaults. Therefore, the gap between the rates of violence for sexual orientation and racial crimes has grown.
There was a small number (14) of crimes motivated by gender. The vast majority of these (86%) were violent, and all but 1 of the violent crimes targeted transgender victims. There was 1 non-violent disability crime.