One of many events held during United Against Hate Week in 2021.

On Dec. 7, the Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations (LACCHR) released its annual hate crime report for Los Angeles County in 2021, showing hate crimes have reached the highest level in 19 years.

Reported hate crimes in L.A. County grew 23% from 641 to 786 in 2021, according to the report. This is the largest number recorded since 2002.

Since 1980, LACCHR has compiled, analyzed, and produced this annual report of hate crime data submitted by over 100 law enforcement agencies, educational institutions, and community-based organizations.

“The rise in hate crimes across Los Angeles County is deeply distressing. Our most vulnerable neighbors are facing enough challenges, and now have to worry about a greater risk of being attacked or harassed because of who they are. That is unacceptable,” said District 4 Supervisor Janice Hahn, chair of the Board of Supervisors. “As chair of the board I’m looking forward to engaging with our partners across the county and with community groups to tackle these crimes. Hate has no place in L.A. County.”

Some of the alarming findings in the report include data that showed Blacks being the most frequent targets of reported hate crimes in the county, anti-Asian hate crimes reaching the highest total ever, explicit anti-immigrant hate crimes hitting a historic high and a growth in hate crimes targeting the LGBT, Jewish, and Muslim communities.

“The year 2021 began with a violent assault on the U.S. Capitol, led in part by white nationalist groups,” said Robin Toma, the commission’s executive director. “The shocking revolt was evidence of not only growing political polarization, but a country deeply divided along lines of race, religion, sexual orientation, and gender. Against this backdrop, hate crimes across the nation, including L.A. County, skyrocketed in 2021.”

He added, “While part of the growth in numbers may be due to increased reporting encouraged by L.A. vs. Hate, the fact that outside of L.A. County hate crimes also grew indicates a rise in bias-motivated crimes as well.”

“This report provides a yearly snapshot of what criminal bigotry looks like in our own backyard,” stated Commission President Ilan Davidson. “The fact that last year hate crimes targeting nearly all racial and ethnic groups, sexual minorities, and religions grew tells us that we must all come together united against hate.”  

The report’s significant findings include the following:

• Hate crimes have grown 105% since hitting an all-time low in 2013.

• The overall rate of violence increased from 68% to 74%, the highest rate in at least 20 years. Transgender victims experienced the highest rate of violence (93%), followed by homophobic (89%), racial (78%), and religious crimes (53%).

• The 23% increase in hate crime was largely due to a 17% spike in racial crimes.  Crimes targeting African Americans, Latino/as, Asians and Middle Easterners all rose dramatically. Racist offenses constituted 58% of all hate crimes. 

• As in past years, Blacks were grossly over-represented. Although Blacks constitute only 9% of county residents, they comprised 46% of racial crime victims. Anti-Black crimes jumped 30% from 169 to 219.

• Latino/as comprised 25% of racial victims and anti-Latino/a crimes rose 10% from 106 to 117. Latino/as were the most likely of the larger targeted groups to be targets of violent racially motivated crime. In 78% of these crimes, anti-Mexican slurs were used.

• Crimes targeting Asians grew 67% from 46 to 77 and comprised 16% of racially motivated offenses. In 23% of these crimes, the suspects blamed the victims for the COVID-19 pandemic. 

• Crimes targeting persons of Middle Eastern descent rose 267% from 3 to 11.

• Crimes in which suspects used specifically anti-immigrant slurs skyrocketed 48% from 56 to 83, the largest number ever recorded.

• Sexual orientation attacks grew 15%from 124 to 142 and made up 17% of all hate crimes; 85% of these crimes targeted gay men.

• Religious-motivated offenses spiked 29% from 86 to 111 and made up 14% of all hate crimes. The rate of violence (53%) was the second highest on record. The Jewish community was targeted in 74% of these cases.

• Anti-transgender hate crimes rose 24% from 33 to 41. This number nearly tied the largest number ever reported (42, in 2019).

• The largest number of hate crimes took place in the Metro Service Planning Area, which stretches from West Hollywood to Boyle Heights, followed by the San Fernando Valley region. However, if one compares the populations of the areas to the numbers of reported hate crimes, the Metro region had the highest rate, followed by the Western region (which includes parts of West L.A., Beverly Hills, Culver City, and several affluent beach communities).

• Hate crimes committed by gang members increased 69%, from 32 to 54;  74% were racial and the majority targeted African Americans.

“There is no room for intolerance and hate against anyone in Los Angeles County. I am disappointed by the most recent statistics that show we are going in the opposite direction of being inclusive,” said Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón. “My office is committed to prosecuting those types of crimes that are motivated by hate and anger toward any group based on their race, ethnicity, religious beliefs, gender identity or sexual orientation. We need to recognize, respect, and celebrate our differences so we can build a stronger foundation of healthy and safe communities.

In response to the rise in hate, the Board of Supervisors directed LACCHR to build a multi-year campaign to prevent and respond to acts of hate in the county, which resulted in the L.A. vs. Hate initiative. The initiative has three components: (1) a community-driven marketing campaign to encourage residents and organizations to unite against and report acts of hate; (2) the first government hotline (via 211) for reporting all acts of hate, both incidents and crimes, and providing free assistance to all victims; and (3) a network of community agencies that provide rapid response, support, healing, advocacy, and hate prevention services.

Since launching in June 2020, LAvsHate.org website content has been viewed over 1 billion times and has been shared more than 180 million times. Since September 2019, when L.A. vs. Hate and 211 began accepting calls, L.A. vs. Hate has received more than 1,900 reports. Approximately, 90% of those callers have requested assistance via case management.

To view the complete report, including hate crime maps, graphs, and tables, visit http://hrc.lacounty.gov.

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