The Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations (LACCHR) on Thursay released its annual account of hate crimes reported throughout Los Angeles County in 2016.
The report’s significant findings include the following:
• There were 482 hate crimes reported, only one less than 2015, which saw a 24% increase from the previous year and reached the highest total since 2011. By comparison, the California Attorney General’s Office reported an 11.2 % statewide increase in hate crime in 2016.
• For the first time in many years, the largest targeted group for hate crime were gay men, lesbians and LGBT organizations, surpassing anti-African American hate crimes. The 118 homophobic hate crimes also had a high rate of violence (81%). These included one murder of a gay man shot to death by his father, who has since been convicted of the homicide and the hate crime.
• Hate crimes in which there was evidence of white supremacist ideology grew 67% from 63 to 105, constituting 22% of all hate crimes.
• Anti-African American crimes dropped by 19%, from 139 to 112, partly due to a drop in the number of hate crimes by Latino gang members targeting African Americans.
• During the post-2016 presidential election period (Nov. 8 through Dec. 31, 2016), hate crimes increased 9%, from 75 to 82. It’s important to note that the 75 crimes during the same period in 2015 represented a sharp 47% increase from the previous year, due to the rise in anti-Muslim/Middle Eastern hate crimes following the terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino.
• Gender-based crimes spiked by 77%, from 22 to 39. Most of these were anti-transgender crimes, which jumped from 18 to 31, a 72% increase. Latina transgender women were targeted the most.
• There were 101 religious hate crimes in 2016, with two-thirds targeting the Jewish community.
• After jumping 69% in 2015, anti-Latino crimes increased slightly in 2016, from 61 to 62. 77% of them were violent.
• Anti-white crimes jumped from 11 to 27, a 145% rise. Whites comprised 11% of racial hate crime victims, but are about 27% of the county population.
• Youth (under 18) continue to decline as suspects of hate crimes in LA County. From 2006 to 2016, youth have gone from the largest age group of hate crime suspects, to the smallest.
• In addition to those referenced above, county residents of diverse backgrounds were targeted for hate crime in 2016, including Armenians, Chinese, Asian/Pacific Islander, persons with mental disabilities, persons with physical disabilities, Scientologists, Afghans, Africans, Iranians, Iraqis, Japanese, and Koreans.
“We are extremely concerned that reported hate crimes remained at an elevated level in 2016,” said Robin Toma, LACCHR executive director. “And major cities across the country, including the city of Los Angeles, have already reported increases in hate crime during the first half of 2017.”
“The fact that white supremacist crimes grew 67% is alarming, particularly in the aftermath of the ‘Unite the Right’ rally in Charlottesville. It seems that organized hate groups everywhere are feeling emboldened and increasingly visible,” said LACCHR President Isabelle Gunning.
Hate crimes occurred throughout the county, but the largest number took place in the San Fernando Valley, followed by the Metro region that stretches from West Hollywood to Boyle Heights. The highest rate of hate crimes occurred in the Metro region, followed by the western part of the county, which includes a number of affluent cities.
To view the complete report, including hate crime maps, graphs and tables, visit wdacs.lacounty.gov or www.lahumanrelations.org.
Anti-Asian Hate Crimes
After tripling the previous year, anti-Asian hate crimes declined slightly from 18 to 16. Although APIs constitute 14% of the population, they were targeted in only 7% of racial hate crimes.
However, the commission believes that under-reporting of hate crimes is a serious problem in the API community because of linguistic and cultural barriers, immigration status, unfamiliarity with the criminal justice system, and fear that reporting hate crimes could bring retaliation or unwanted publicity.
In half of these cases, either Chinese Americans were attacked or specifically anti-Chinese slurs were used. In a third of the cases, the crimes were generally anti-Asian without epithets targeting a particular ethnic group. There were also single anti-Japanese and anti-Korean crimes.
In addition, there were some South Asians also targeted but not in racial crimes. They were targeted because of their real or perceived religion.
The rate of violence in anti-Asian hate crimes was 53% which was lower than the rates of violence experienced by Latinos, African Americans and whites. The previous year the rate had been significantly higher (83%).
In cases where a suspect was identified 60% of the perpetrators of anti-Asian hate crimes were Latino and 30% were white.
March 6, Exposition Park: An Asian male was sitting in the patio of his apartment complex. A male suspect standing on a balcony yelled, “Ching chong motherf—er! F–k you, ching chong!” He threw several eggs at the victim but missed. The suspect yelled, “Damn, I missed him again! That bastard!”
May 4, La Puente: At a high school, an Asian American student was challenged to a fight by a Latino student who told the victim to “Go back to Asia!” The victim suffered a fractured nose and a laceration to his upper lip. The suspect was placed under arrest and required to appear in Juvenile Court.
June 13, Sawtelle, West Los Angeles: Vandalism was reported by a construction site manager that occurred in a public restroom. The walls were covered with graffiti reading, “F–k Asians,” “F–k the Japs,” “Dumb Japs.”
Oct. 7, Santa Clarita: A young Asian woman was driving and let a white male motorist pass her. The suspect stopped his car and got out. He approached the victim, called her a “chink” and then pepper-sprayed her face twice. The suspect then fled in his car and drove away into the estate.
Nov. 11, Topanga Canyon: Shortly after Election Day, a 32 year-old woman was walking her two dogs. The victim reported that four white males pulled up next to her in a car and yelled, “Go back to Chinktown, you slant-eyed bitch, and take your chink dogs with you! Trumptown!” They threw two eggs at her, hitting her in the head and shoulder. The suspects then fled the scene.
Nov. 18, Alhambra: The home of three Asian adult victims was burglarized and ransacked. The suspect(s) wrote “F–K CHINA #TRUMP” with a blue pen and a highlighter on the living-room wall.