Hate crime numbers up 40% in LA since 2016, officials say

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LOS ANGELES — The number of hate crimes reported in Los Angeles last year rose about 10% from 2018 — and it was more than 40% higher than in 2016, according to a city councilman.

Anti-Jewish hate crimes alone were up 60.5% over 2018 in the nation’s second-largest city, and represented the largest single category in 2019 — 69 of 322 total hate crimes reported by the Los Angeles Police Department, the data show.

Councilman David Ryu released the data Wednesday from the LAPD, which annually has been reporting the numbers — starting with 2016’s set — after the City Council requested them three years ago.

“Year after year, we have seen hate rising in our city and across our nation, and we have not done enough to keep communities safe,” Ryu said during a meeting Wednesday of the Council’s public safety committee.

“We need to take these numbers seriously, because behind every one of these numbers is a religious minority, a person of color, a transgender or LGBTQ person suffering in fear,” he said. “This is not what Los Angeles should be about. We should be increasing our funding and protection for vulnerable communities and be proactive about hate crime prevention.”

Los Angeles hate crime numbers have risen every year since the LAPD started reporting them to the Council. They totaled 229 in 2016, 254 in 2017, and 292 in 2018.

Details in Los Angeles

Among other things, the 2019 data showed:

• The second-largest single category, anti-black crimes, rose 11.5% to 68 last year, from 61 in 2018.

• Hate crimes relating to any race or ethnicity were steady (153 in 2019, against 152 in 2018). Numbers dropped slightly for anti-Hispanic crimes (42 last year vs. 44 in 2018) and anti-white crimes (12 last year, against 15 in 2018).

• Hate crimes related to religion jumped 55%, to 81 last year from 52 in 2018.

• Hate crimes related to sexual orientation were down slightly (65 in 2019, against 71 in 2018).

• Crimes motivated by hate of transgender people rose slightly, to 21 last year, from 17 in 2018.

National perspective

Nationally, the number of hate crimes that law enforcement agencies report to the FBI has been elevated in recent years.

The latest report found 7,120 in 2018, just 55 fewer than had been reported in 2017. Between 2016 and 2017, the FBI found a 17% increase.

“It’s pointing to a democratization of hate, because we’re seeing different groups attacking each other. It’s not just white and black,” Brian Levin, director of California State University’s Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, told CNN on Thursday.

“As you have a decline in trust in … institutions, and demographics changes, and a more coarse social media, when we do have neighborhood conflicts,” there’s more violence, he said.

The nation’s three most populous cities — New York, Los Angeles and Chicago — appear in 2019 to have hit their highest number of reported hate crimes since 2001, Levin said. These are projections based on data his center collected from city governments or from the FBI. In some cases, he is waiting for data from December.

In smaller cities, such as San Antonio, San Diego, Dallas, Austin and Seattle, overall hate crime numbers are projected to have dropped in 2019 from a year prior, Levin said.

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