LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Los Angeles County saw a 67 percent increase in hate crimes where there was evidence of white supremacist ideology over the previous year, according to a report released Thursday.
The Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations 2016 Hate Crime Report tracked 482 hate crimes, one less than in 2015. Despite the total number of crimes remaining nearly identical, the 2015 numbers were a 24 percent increase from the previous year and the highest total since 2011. Because of this, the report concluded that hate crimes continued to be "elevated" in 2016.
The report also noted that, for the first time in many years, the largest group targeted was people from the LGBTQ community, surpassing crimes against African-Americans.
The L.A. County Commission on Human Relations has compiled the annual report since 1980, and although it concluded that hate crimes are elevated compared to recent years, the 482 reported crimes were far fewer than in some previous years, such as the 1,031 reported in 2001 and the 995 in 1996.
Officials involved in compiling the report noted the spike in white supremacist crimes among its most troubling findings, and some pointed to President Donald Trump, viewed by some critics as supportive of white supremacists and anti-Latino, anti-Muslim and anti-LGBTQ, as a top reason for the increase.
The commission said it was contacted repeatedly by press and concerned officials wanting to know if the county experienced an increase in hate crimes after the 2016 presidential election in November, so it compiled a special report on the issue and found that hate crimes rose from election day through the end of the year by 9 percent compared with the same time period in 2015.
L.A. County Supervisor Hilda Solis, who represents the 1st District that stretches from downtown L.A. to Pomona and Claremont, said the rise of white supremacist crimes" is of a particular concern to me because I see it in my southeastern part of my own district. In fact, over the last several months we have had to alert the sheriff's department because white supremacists and anti- immigrant groups have been disruptive in communities like Cudahy and disrupting the City Council meetings. Residents are fearful to attend these meetings because these groups have shown up."
Other noteworthy findings from the report included:
-- Hate crimes against African-Americans dropped by 19 percent, from 139 to 112, partly due to a drop in the number of hate crimes by Latino gang members targeting African-Americans.
-- The 118 reported homophobic crimes had a high rate of violence (81 percent), and included one murder of a gay man shot to death by his father, who has since been convicted in the killing.
-- Gender-based crimes spiked by 77 percent, from 22 to 39, with most being anti-transgender crimes, which jumped from 18 to 31.
-- There were 101 religious hate crimes, with two-thirds targeting the Jewish community, although overall reports fell by 2 percent compared to 2015.
-- After jumping 69 percent in 2015, anti-Latino crimes increased slightly in 2016, from 61 to 62, and 77 percent of them were violent.
-- Anti-white crimes jumped from 11 to 27, a 145 percent rise, with the report noting that whites are 27 percent of the population and composed 11 percent of racial hate crime victims.
-- Youth under 18 continue to decline as suspects in hate crimes, and went from the largest age group of suspects to the smallest from 2006 to 2016.
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