County reports hate crimes rise to highest levels in 20 years 

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SCV hate crimes rise 36% to 19 total, eight being of a violent nature 

Los Angeles County’s Commission on Human Relations released its annual report on hate crimes for 2022 on Wednesday, with reported hate crimes rising for the second straight year and reaching the highest total in more than 20 years. 

Black people were the most frequent targets of reported hate crimes, according to the report, which added that anti-Asian hate crimes reached the second-highest total ever, anti-immigration hate crimes reached a “historic high” and reported hate crimes targeting the LGBTQ and Jewish communities also rose.  

The reported anti-Black crimes accounted for 57% of all reported hate crimes, according to the report, which notes that the actual number rose 34% from 219 in 2021 to 294 in 2022.  

That is a stark contrast to the actual population of Black people in the county, which is roughly 9% of the total population, according to the report.  

Jewish communities also saw a sharp rise in reported hate crimes, according to the report, with 83% of the reported religiously motivated hate crimes being anti-Jewish.  

Hate crimes also tended to be more violent, according to the report, which notes that 72% of reported hate crimes were of a violent nature, the second-highest percentage in at least 20 years.  

The total number of hate crimes reported to the county — which compiles data from law enforcement agencies, educational institutions and community-based organizations — rose from 790 to 929, an 18% increase. In 2021, the number of hate crimes reported to the county was 641.  

Since 2013, the number of reported hate crimes has increased 143%, according to the report.  

“We are troubled by the extremely high number of hate crimes in 2022,” said commission President Ilan Davidson in a news release. “But we are especially concerned about the huge increases in hate crimes targeting the African American and Jewish communities.” 

In a video interview with The Signal on Monday, Marshall Wong, an anti-hate program coordinator for the commission and the principal author of the annual Hate Crime Report, and Yadira Pineda, a senior human relations consultant with the commission, both said that the rise in reported hate crimes is due more to a rise in reporting rather than an actual rise in hate crimes. 

“We have been partnering with different law enforcement agencies and schools have been reporting to us,” Pineda said. “So, we’ve been receiving more reports and also, they recently launched a campaign L.A. vs Hate, which is a different reporting system where if folks don’t feel comfortable going to law enforcement agencies, then they’ll go there.” 

The LA vs Hate initiative involves three components, according to the commission’s release:  

  • A community-driven marketing campaign to encourage residents and organizations to unite against and report acts of hate.  
  • The first government hotline (via 211) for reporting acts of hate and providing assistance to hate victims.  
  • A network of community agencies that provide rapid response, support and advocacy, and hate prevention services.  

The LA vs Hate initiative has received more than 2,700 reports of hate, and over 800 in the last year alone, since it was started in September 2019, according to the release. 

In the Santa Clarita Valley, the number of hate crimes reported to the county was 19, up from 14 in 2021, according to county data. 

The data shows that four of the reported hate crimes in the SCV were religiously motivated, 13 of them were motivated by race, ethnicity or national origin and two were motivated by sexual orientation. Similar to the countywide data, the SCV had a disproportionate number of anti-Black hate crimes reported. Despite only 4% of the population in the SCV being Black, according to Pineda, the Black population was targeted in 42% of reported hate crimes. 

“I think that’s a big concern because across L.A. County, we also see that African-Americans are largely targeted, but in Santa Clarita, noting that they’re a smaller percentage there, I think it says something,” Pineda said. “I’m curious to know what’s been the history there.” 

As for how the commission is working to combat hate crimes, Wong said that it starts with awareness. That, he said, could come through schools or simply reporting hateful messages on social media to law enforcement or other agencies. 

“I think that more and more schools and colleges and universities are trying to institute things like mandatory ethnic studies,” Wong said. “It’s a struggle, but we think that, starting from elementary school, if students are engaged around issues of intolerance and the legacy of oppression, then that could play a significant role in affecting future behavior.” 

The number of violent hate crimes in the SCV reported to the county actually decreased from 2021 to 2022, from 10 to eight. Nearly half of all reported hate crimes in the SCV were vandalism. 

Pineda said that just because a hate crime is non-violent does not mean that it does not cause harm. She referenced instances of places of worship or schools being vandalized that, in essence, show a large group of people being targeted and making them feel unsafe in their own place. 

“We see that happening at a place of worship, where people feel like that’s a place that they could go to, to feel safe, and if someone is creating these acts of vandalism, it’s harming a whole community,” Pineda said. “We could say that about vandalism that occurred at schools, too, if there’s vandalism against LGBTQ or against our Black communities. That is harming a whole community there and it’s making students and even staff feel like this is not a safe place.” 

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