Hate crimes up 20 percent in Los Angeles area

Hate crimes up 20 percent in Los Angeles area
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Hate crimes in Los Angeles increased by 20 percent last year, hitting a 10-year high as racially and sexually motivated crimes jump in cities nationwide. 

A report from the Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations published on Wednesday showed that 635 hate crimes were reported in Los Angeles in 2020, up from 530 in 2019. This marked the largest number of reported hate crimes in the area since 2008. 

Among racially motivated hate crimes, Black people, who account for just 9 percent of county residents, were disproportionately targeted, accounting for 42 percent of the incidents reported. Overall, anti-Black hate crimes were up 35 percent in 2020. 

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The 44 hate crimes targeting Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the county represented the highest number since 2001 and a 76 percent increase on the previous year. 

“It did not help that the former president repeatedly referred to COVID-19 as ‘chinavirus’ and ‘kung-flu,’” Guadalupe Montaño, the commission's president, said of the anti-Asian violence in a statement, according to the Los Angeles Times

Racially motivated incidents targeting Latino communities increased by 58 percent, according to the report.

Crimes on the basis of sexual orientation grew by 17 percent, and an overwhelming 83 percent of those crimes were violent in nature. 

Meanwhile, religious hate crimes declined by 18 percent, but of the crimes that took place, 88 percent targeted Jewish people. 

The FBI recently released an amended version of its 2020 hate crime statistics after it underreported some of the bias-motivated incidents that occurred in 2020.

That revised report indicated that the number of hate crimes reported to the FBI jumped by 13 percent between 2019 and 2020.

Last month, the Justice Department also announced that it would provide $21 million to help law enforcement agencies investigate and prosecute hate crimes. 

“Hate crimes instill fear across entire communities. They have profoundly negative and unacceptable effects on our society,” Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta said. “The department is committed to using all tools at our disposal to combat unlawful acts of hate. These awards will provide state, local and tribal agencies additional support and critical resources to address hate crimes and their far-reaching effects.”