Reported hate crimes in LA County reach 21-year high: report

Reported hate crimes in Los Angeles County rose to their highest level in 21 years in 2022, jumping 18% from the previous year, according to a report released Wednesday by the county Commission on Human Relations.

The report found 929 reported hate crimes in the county last year, up from 790 the prior year. The number is the highest it has been since the 1,031 recorded in 2001.

Other findings include the largest number of anti-transgender crimes ever tallied, a record-breaking number of anti-immigrant slurs, and a growing rate of hate crime violence. For the past eight years, hate crimes have been trending upward with a 143% increase since 2013.

SUGGESTED: Antisemitic graffiti messages in Canter's Deli parking lot investigated as a hate crime

"The release of the county's Commission on Human Relations (report) comes at a somber time — a time in which we are seeing what is happening afar having a direct local impact here in LA County," Supervisor Hilda Solis said in a statement. "It is also a reminder that we are not immune and hate and violence continue to impact the lives of Angelenos."

Once again, Black residents were targeted at a higher rate than other racial groups, representing an increase in hate crimes from 219 previously to 294 last year. It is the second-largest number of anti-Black crimes ever reported, the study found. The number of hate crimes targeting Latino residents rose to 121, and those showed the highest rate of violence among all racial/ethnic groups. There were 61 reported anti-Asian crimes last year, revealing a 25% decline from the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.

Crimes based on sexual orientation jumped by 20% year over year, with 81% of those crimes targeting gay men. There were 44 anti-transgender crimes, with 91% of those offenses classified as violent, a rate much higher than racial, sexual orientation and religious attacks.

SUGGESTED: Orange County, and its schools, see sizeable increase in hate crimes during 2022: study

Meanwhile, religion-based crimes jumped by 41%, with 83% of the offenses targeting Jews, according to the report. Overall, the report noted that reported hate crimes have grown by 143% since falling to an all-time low in 2013.

While the data hasn't yet been compiled for 2023, Assistant Chief Blake Chow with the Los Angeles Police Department said that between Oct. 6 and the end of November, the city of Los Angeles 267% in antisemitic hate crimes. 

Though, as Dina Chehata, a civil rights attorney with CAIR, it isn't just Jewish people being targeted. 

"In my office since Oct. 7, I've seen that we received 177 bias incidents against Muslims, and of those 122 are specifically related to what's happening in the Middle East," Chehata said.

SUGGESTED: UCLA student shot in face with BB gun in alleged hate crime

County officials acknowledged that the recorded 2022 increase could be attributed to more robust reporting of such crimes, aided by the LA vs Hate initiative encouraging victims to come forward and offering them support. But they also noted that many hate crimes still likely go unreported.

"The U.S. Department of Justice has reported that nearly half of all violent hate crimes are not reported to law enforcement," the report stated. "It is reasonable, therefore, to conclude that the hate crimes documented in this report likely represent only a portion of hate crimes actually committed in 2022."