Hate crimes in Los Angeles this year could again set records, report finds

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Hate crimes in the city of Los Angeles are on pace to surpass last year’s record-setting levels, up almost 20% in the first half of the year over the start of 2021, according to a USC analysis.

Leading the uptick are hate crimes against Black, transgender and LGBTQ Angelenos, which were all up significantly over reports to the Los Angeles Police Department during the first six months of 2021, according to an analysis from Crosstown, USC’s nonprofit data-driven news outlet.

Hate crimes across the country and in California have been on the rise in recent years, led last year by an increase in Anti-Asian hate. This latest analysis from the first six months of the year in L.A. signals that hate crimes could again set records.

There were 596 hate crimes reported to LAPD in 2021, according to the analysis, but already by the end of June, 349 have been reported. During the same period last year, 299 had been reported. LAPD designates a hate crime as a criminal act targeting gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion or disability.

Crimes against transgender and LGBTQ people were already significantly up compared to the first half of 2021, with 30 reported, compared to eight last year, per the analysis. Anti-Black crimes saw the other sharpest increase, up 15% over the first half of 2021, with more than 90 reported this year.

Anti-Asian crimes were down slightly, at 16 this year, compared to 23 from the first half of 2021.

Hate crime statistics can help reveal trends and highlight new or ongoing issues, but experts note that these frightening attacks or assaults are often underreported for a variety of reasons, including fear of retaliation, deportation or mistrust in authorities.

Nearly 45% of the 349 hate crimes reported in L.A. during the first half of 2022 involved an assault, and about one-sixth were recorded as vandalism or crime threats without a weapon.

Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at Cal State San Bernardino, told Crosstown that it is likely hate crimes will further increase during the second half of 2022, given that elections that can fuel divisive rhetoric, as well as historical trends that show more hate crimes have been reported later in the year.

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