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The Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations (LACCHR) today released its annual account of hate crimes reported throughout Los Angeles County. In 2012 hate crimes declined 6% from 489 in 2011 to 462 this year. The number of hate crimes in the County has continued a downward trend since 2007.
Similar to past years, four groups constituted 86% of all hate crime victims in 2012: African Americans, lesbians and gay men, Jews, and Latinos. Hate crimes targeting each of these four groups changed little from the previous year, but crimes against most other ethnic and religious groups declined.
Despite the good news, there was an increase in the overall rate of violence occurring in hate crimes. The rate of violence for sexual orientation crimes grew from 71% to 79% and the violence rate of racial crimes grew from 54% to 61%. There were seven persons who were victims of attempted murder.
"We are encouraged that for several years in a row the number of hate crimes in L.A. County has been about half of those reported in the late 90s and early 2000s," said Robin Toma, LACCHR Executive Director. "However, there are several persistent areas of concern that require heightened attention, namely the number of anti-black crimes committed by Latino gang members, and the continued high rate of violence experienced by the gay, lesbian, and transgender communities." The report cites LACCHR's efforts to prevent and reduce hate crime, such as deploying staff to areas of the County to build collaborative projects to reduce racially-motivated gang violence. The Commission has also trained youth at several middle and senior high schools to stand-up to homophobic bullying through its No Haters Here! network.
"While we are heartened by the relatively low numbers, we need to continue to educate members of the community to report if they are victims of hate crime," Commission President Kathay Feng remarked. "Far too often victims suffer in silence and are too frightened or ashamed to contact law enforcement or others for help."
"I was lucky that people driving by decided to help me when I was being beaten because of who I am, a transgender woman," said Ms. Sabel Samone, who was brutally attacked in Los Angeles in April 2013. "I'm not just a statistic. Unfortunately, I know of too many other hate crimes against transgender people like me that are never reported to the police.
"I prosecuted hate crimes earlier in my career, and even though the numbers are declining, 462 hate crimes are 462 too many for our county," said District Attorney Lacey. "I will continue to make hate crime prosecution a priority for our county."
Hate crimes occurred throughout the variety of regions of Los Angeles County, but the largest number took place in the Metro region (stretching from West Hollywood to Boyle Heights). When accounting for population, the Metro region tied with the Antelope Valley for the highest rate of hate crimes.
To view the complete report including hate crime maps, graphs and tables, visit www.lahumanrelations.org.
Published: Oct. 3, 2013 - Volume 12 - Issue 25