SAN DIEGO -- San Diego State University students gathered Monday to send a message about stopping hate crimes and learn about current statistics.
ASEZ, a global group of university student volunteers, helped put on the campus event and invited various speakers, including from the District Attorney's office.
Deputy District Attorney Leonard Trinh spoke about how busy San Diego hate crime prosecutors are with their caseload, saying they've filed twice as many cases this year compared to last year. Trinh said in the last four years, San Diego has seen nearly a 40 percent increase in hate crime, which mirrors nationwide statistics.
Last week, residents in Poway quickly rallied around a Jewish family that had a swastika painted on the side of their house on the first night of Hanukkah.
"Religious holidays and oddly enough elections tend to bring out a lot of divisiveness as well, so those are the dates where we generally see a rise in hate incidents," said Trinh.
The District Attorney’s office says a rise in hate speech online is also to blame.
"People are using social media to communicate their biases and prejudices and the more normalized that behavior becomes, the more likely hate crimes occur," said Trinh.