The Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations (LACCHR) on Sept. 24 released its annual analysis of hate crimes reported throughout Los Angeles County.
The report reveals that in 2014, 389 hate crimes were reported, which is the second-lowest in 25 years. Only the previous year, 2013, was lower. The 2014 total is only 1% more than in 2013.
The peak of hate crimes reported in the county was in 2001, when the post-9/11 period led to anti-Muslim/Middle Easterner hate crimes, which boosted the county total to its zenith: 1,031 hate crimes.
Similar to past years, four groups constituted the bulk of all hate-crime victims in 2014: African Americans, lesbians and gay men, Jews, and Latinos. Although there was an increase in anti-LGBT and anti-Jewish hate crime reported, those followed dramatic drops the previous year for those groups, and were still among the lowest numbers ever reported for all four groups. There was a decrease in the number of offenses targeting Asians and an increase in anti-white hate crimes.
The overall rate of violence rose slightly from 60% to 62%. The rate of violence in sexual orientation crimes has always been high, but it climbed from 71 to 81%, the highest since 2003.
Anti-transgender hate crime continued to be the most violent of any major targeted group, with 93% of all such crimes being of a violent nature.
The analysis also revealed that African Americans represented 69% of all victims in reported racial hate crime in 2014, despite comprising only about 8% of the county’s residents.
The report also looked at the age of hate-crime suspects, and found that juveniles, the largest age group in 2003, were the smallest age group in 2014.
“We are encouraged that reported hate crimes have declined dramatically over the years,” said Robin Toma, LACCHR executive director. “However, an average of more than one hate crimes occurs every day, so we cannot be complacent. Of particular concern is the continued high rate of victimization of African Americans, who comprise two-thirds of racial hate-crime victims. Many of these crimes are committed by gang members. Our agency has invested significant time and resources to reduce hate crimes, especially racially motivated gang violence. We are also alarmed at the high rate of violence experienced by gay men, lesbians and transgender victims.”
“Under-reporting of hate crimes remains a serious problem,” LACCHR President Susanne Cumming remarked. “Although the statistics are encouraging, we have to remember that far too many hate crime victims suffer in silence and do not report these crimes to police.”
Sheriff Jim McDonnell stated, “Hate crime is not just a law enforcement matter. The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department deeply values our relationships with the L.A. County Human Relations Commission, educators, faith communities and a broad array of dedicated community-based organizations throughout the county. The decrease in hate crimes over the past seven years is the result of a community-wide effort.”
“This year marks the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday, the Selma-to-Montgomery march, and the passage of the Voting Rights Act,” noted Cynthia Banks, director of community and senior services for the county. “During the past half-century we have seen tremendous progress in human and civil rights, yet we still have residents of our county attacked on a daily basis because of their race, sexual orientation, religion, gender or disability. This annual hate-crime report has been distributed across the county and has been cited as a national model. The report is evidence that we still have much work to do to achieve a more just, equitable, and peaceful society.”
Hate crimes occurred throughout the county, but the largest number and highest rate took place in the Metro Service Planning Area (SPA) region that stretches from West Hollywood to Boyle Heights. The San Gabriel Valley region had the lowest rate of hate crimes.
To view the complete report, including maps, graphs and tables, visit www.lahumanrelations.org.
Anti-Asian Crimes in 2014
• Feb. 7, Cerritos — At a school the words “F–k Chinkhouse” and “Gayhouse” were spray-painted on a concrete wall between the bleachers and running track. Also, the running track was defaced with the word “Gayrittos.”
• May 19, Compton — On a Metro train, a Chinese deputy conducting fare checks approached a white male and asked to see his TAP card. The suspect produced a card but also activated a butane lighter under the deputy’s elbow, in an attempt to set him on fire. The deputy and his Latina partner placed the suspect under arrest. When they placed him in their patrol car he started making derogatory racist statements about “gooks” and Mexican women. He also threatened to kill the arresting officers.
• Aug. 3, Alhambra — An Asian male found his car vandalized with unknown object. An unknown suspect had scratched the words “Rich,” “Asian,” “Illegal,” and “Go Back.”
• Aug. 22, Azusa — A Sikh Indian store owner had previously banned a Latino male from his business. When the suspect entered his store, the victim asked him to leave. The suspect became angry and spit in the victim’s face. Referring to the victim’s turban, he yelled, “Take off that diaper from your head and go back to your own country.”
• Nov. 14, Koreatown — A Chinese female is the manager of an apartment building. She encountered a white male who did not live there and asked him to leave the property. The suspect yelled, “Heil Hitler!” and “White Power!” He then approached the victim and raised a glass beer bottle above his head and swung it to frighten the victim but only touched her cheek. The suspect then yelled, “White power! Go back to China!”
• Dec. 23, Rancho Palos Verdes — A Filipino woman reported that her mailbox was spray-painted with a red swastika.