Officials reported a 15-percent increase in hate crimes in Los Angeles County for 2011, which is a reverse of a three-year trend, according to county statistics.
The number of hate crimes rose from 427 to 489 last year.
All major categories of hate crimes increased: both race/ethnicity/national origin crimes and sexual orientation crimes rose 13 percent, and religion-motivated crimes grew by 24 percent. Hate crimes reflecting white supremacist ideology rose from being 18 percent to 21 percent of all hate crimes, according to the statistics.
Hate crime charges are filed when there is evidence that bias, hatred, or prejudice based on the victim’s real or perceived race/ethnicity, religion, ancestry, national origin, disability, gender, or sexual orientation is a substantial factor in the commission of the offense, according to California state law.
“The 15 percent increase in hate crime is cause for concern, since it exceeds the increase in crime in general,” LACCHR Executive Director Robin Toma stated in a news release.
“But we are encouraged that across the board hate crimes based on race, sexual orientation, and religion are still among the lowest reported in the past two decades.”
A quarter of all hate crimes was motivated by the sexual orientation of the victims. As in the past, the overwhelming majority (84%) targeted gay men. Homophobic crimes were more likely to be of a violent nature (71%) than either racial (54%) or religious crimes (20%).
Religion-motivated crimes constituted 18 percent of all hate crimes. Consistent with previous years, the overwhelming number, 77 percent, were anti-Semitic.
Hate crimes occurred throughout the variety of regions of Los Angeles County, but the largest numbers were concentrated in the San Fernando Valley, followed by the Metro region (stretching from West Hollywood to Boyle Heights). When accounting for population, the Metro region had highest rate of hate crimes followed by the Antelope Valley.
To view the complete report including hate crime maps, graphs and tables, visitwww.lahumanrelations.org.