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L.A. County sees uptick in hate crimes in 2011

Posted: October 24, 2012 3:04 p.m.
Updated: October 24, 2012 7:44 p.m.

Hate crimes increased in Los Angeles County by 15 percent in 2011 after three years of dramatic decline.
The Commission on Human Relations issued its annual report Wednesday, which said the number of hate crimes jumped from 427 to 489 last year.

The report categorized the Santa Clarita Valley in a wide area stretching from Glendale to Val Verde to Westlake Village. In that area, the report said, was the largest number of hate crimes at 134. It was followed by the Metro region from West Hollywood to Boyle Heights.

In an example cited from Canyon Country, the commission reported: “An openly gay white male victim was sitting in a chair on the porch of his residence. A white male suspect yelled a slur and pushed the victim face-first down the stairs into a pile of rocks.

“The suspect was arrested and booked on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon.”

In another Canyon Country incident, the report stated: “Two Afghani females asked a woman to clean up her dog’s feces from their front lawn. The woman’s husband became enraged,” the report said, and yelled racial slurs and shouted, “Go back home! You don’t belong here!”

“The suspect then spat directly into the face of one of the victims and spat at the other.”

According to the commission’s report released Wednesday, all major categories of hate crimes increased, including crimes relating to race, ethnicity and national origin. Sexual crimes rose 13 percent and religion-motivated crimes grew by 24 percent.

Hate crimes reflecting white supremacist ideology rose from 18 percent to 21 percent of all hate crimes, according to the report.

The annual total, however, was still the second lowest recorded during the past 22 years.

“The 15 percent increase in hate crime is cause for concern, since it exceeds the increase in crime in general,” said the commission’s executive director, Robin Toma.

“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.”

On the issue of white supremacists, Commission President Kathay Feng said: “While we are heartened by the relatively low numbers, we are alarmed that 21 percent of hate crimes show evidence of white supremacist ideology and 12 percent of hate crimes were committed by gang members.

“This means that potentially a full third of hate crimes are committed by mission offenders who believe that they are part of a larger cause to terrorize entire communities.”

About half of all hate crimes were racially motivated. African Americans were targeted most frequently (60 percent), and a greater percentage of hate crimes in 2011 were committed by gang members.

A quarter of all hate crimes were motivated by the sexual orientation of the victims. As in the past, the overwhelming majority (84 percent) targeted gay men. Homophobic crimes were more likely to be of a violent nature (71 percent) than either racial (54 percent) or religious crimes (20 percent).

Religion-motivated crimes constituted 18 percent of all hate crimes. Consistent with previous years, the overwhelming number, 77 percent, were anti-Jewish.

The Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations boasts being one of “the oldest and largest agencies of its kind in the United States.”

It works to foster “harmonious and equitable intergroup relations, empower communities and institutions, engage in non-violent conflict resolution and promote an informed and inclusive multicultural society.”






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