Rafu Wire and Staff Reports

Reported hate crimes in Los Angeles County declined by 6 percent in 2012 from the previous year, marking the second lowest total in 23 years, the county Commission on Human Relations announced Wednesday.

According to its annual report — which defines a hate crime as one where hatred or prejudice toward a victim’s race or ethnicity, religion, disability, gender or sexual orientation was a substantial factor — there were 462 reported hate crimes countywide last year, a decrease of 27 from 2011.

“We are encouraged that for several years in a row the number of hate crimes in L.A. County has been about half of those reported in the late ’90s and early 2000s,” said commission Executive Director Robin Toma.

Robin Toma, executive director of the Los Angeles County Human Relations Commission. (Rafu Shimpo photo)
Robin Toma, executive director of the Los Angeles County Human Relations Commission. (Rafu Shimpo photo)

About 50 percent of the 2012 crimes documented in the report were race-based, with 66 percent of those targeting blacks.

The report showed that 68 percent of racially motivated crimes against blacks were committed by Latinos, and 58 percent of racially motivated crimes targeting Latinos were committed by blacks.

Crimes based on sexual orientation increased from the previous year to 28 percent of all the hate crimes — and were more likely to be violent than either racial- or religious-related hated crimes.

Religious crimes, which were primarily anti-Semitic in nature, declined slightly from last year, constituting 19 percent of the total.

“It remains troubling that year after year, the overwhelming majority of hate crimes motivated by religion in Los Angeles County, statewide and across the country, is against Jews and Jewish institutions.” said Amanda Susskind, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League, a civil rights group with a focus on documenting and fighting anti-Semitism.

“We remain concerned that African Americans continue to be the most frequently targeted victims of hate crimes with nearly one-third of all reported hate crimes and two-thirds of racially motivated crimes,” Susskind said. “And, not only did crimes against the LGBT — lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender — community increase, they also became even more likely to be of a violent nature compared to last year and still vastly more likely to be violent than either racial or religious crimes.”

The highest rate of hate crimes took place in the metro region stretching from West Hollywood to Boyle Heights. When accounting for population, the Antelope Valley tied with the metro area for the highest numbers.

In the Antelope Valley, where federal officials recently found that sheriff’s deputies had discriminated against black residents, “some of the white supremacist organizations have long been active,” Toma said.

The commission’s report was generated from data collected from sheriff and city police departments, school districts and community groups.

However, officials are “almost incapable” of monitoring hate crimes taking place in cyberspace, Susskind noted.

Anti-Asian Crimes

Recorded hate crimes targeting Asian Americans in 2012 totaled 12, unchanged from 2011.

They were broken down as follows: anti-Chinese, 5; anti-Japanese, 3; anti-Asian (non-specific), 2; anti-Indian, 1; anti-Korean, 1.

The breakdown is according to the perpetrator’s words even if the victim did not belong to the targeted ethnic group. For example, one suspect expressed anti-Korean sentiment but the home that he attacked belonged to a South Asian.

According to Marshall Wong, senior intergroup relations specialist, the commission usually receives only the initial police reports, and is not notified if the investigation leads to an arrest.

Following are summaries of the cases. Most of the reports identify victims by ethnicity but do not specify whether they are immigrants or American-born.

• In Duarte, two Chinese victims returned to their apartment and were robbed at knifepoint by two black gang members. The robbers took their wallets, a television and laptop computer. They told the victims, “Don’t report this to the police or we will kill you and your family.”

The tenants contacted their landlord. The following day one of the victims returned to the apartment and found the words “Asian” and “Chinese” spray-painted on the walls and crossed out. The name of a local gang was also written on the wall.

• In Diamond Bar, a white male smashed a glass door and attempted to enter a home.  After being detained by police, he stated that he wanted to burglarize the home because he did not like Koreans.

• In La Mirada, a Vietnamese male driver was paused at a traffic signal. A white male approached him and yelled, “F–k you Japanese!” The man opened the car door, punched the driver and struck him twice with a flashlight.

• In Calabasas, the principal of an elementary school reported that the words “F–k you Jews and Chinks” had been written on two fuse boxes on the wall of the library.

• In Temple City, a Chinese woman was paused at a traffic signal. An SUV pulled alongside her. A white male in the passenger seat accused her of driving recklessly, and called her a “slanted-eye bitch” and “ching chong ching.” He then spat in her face.

• In Cerritos, two teenage friends, one Korean and one black, were attacked by three Latino gang members who yelled racial slurs. The Korean victim was struck in the face with a skateboard. The suspects fled when a bystander yelled that he was calling the police.

• A Japanese American small business owner received multiple calls from a white male transient who called him a “f—–n’ Jap” and told the victim that he was going to end up in a wheelchair or dead. The suspect added that he was going to vandalize the victim’s business and find out where he lives.

• In West Covina, an Asian landlord found graffiti on his apartment building that included “F—ing Nip.”

• In West Covina, unknown persons covered a middle school with white supremacist graffiti and the words “F–k you gook.”

• In Santa Monica, a group of South Asian friends were leaving a bar and trying to hail a taxi. A white male started harassing two of the women. He put his arms around them and asked, “Why don’t you wanna play with white boys?” The group ignored him and walked away. The suspect followed them, called the women “whores” and used racial slurs.

The victim, an Indian male, told the suspect, “Chill out.” The suspect punched him in the face and fled. The victim was transported to a hospital.

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