Hate crimes in LA reached record high last month

Hate crimes in Los Angeles hit a record high in April, with a record 62 reports, more than any other month since at least 2010, when the Los Angeles Police Department began making its records public.

The number surpasses the 51 crimes reported in August 2020, according to Crosstown, a nonprofit news organization based out of the USC Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism. Hate crimes increased for the seventh consecutive year in 2020, Crosstown reported.

Thirty-three of the hate crimes reported in April involved a verbal threat or the use of bodily force to injure. Thirteen of those hate crimes were classified as battery-simple assault, according to LAPD data cited by Crosstown.

Over the past year, there has been mounting concern about the rise of crimes motivated by bias, particularly against people of Asian descent. But other groups have also experienced an increase in attacks. 

On Tuesday, a group of Jewish diners at a sushi restaurant in Beverly Grove were attacked by a group shouting anti-semitic slogans. The police are investigating the incident as an apparent hate crime. 

RELATED: Hate crime investigation underway in Beverly Grove

Detective Orlando Martinez, the LAPD's hate crime coordinator, told Crosstown that the department has adopted a new policy of categorizing any instance of bias motivation as a hate crime so victims can get information for support services and qualify for California's victim compensation programs.

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"Due to these changes, crimes classified as hate crimes have substantially increased as compared to last year,'' Martinez said. "Keep in mind that residents rarely call the police to report being the victim of a hate crime or hate incident. They call the police for another crime or because they do not feel safe, and our officers end up completing a report which the department classifies as a bias-motivated crime.''