SAN JOSE (KPIX) -- A new report from the San Jose Police Department on the city's crimes rates show an alarming increase in hate crimes.
According to the department's 'Police Dashboard,' hate crimes in San Jose have risen 500% from 2016 to 2021.
The dashboard, developed by the department's Bureau of Technical Services, features three sections: response times, FBI Uniform Crime Reports, and Hate Crime Incidents.
In each section, the data can be sorted, filtered or displayed using various parameters set by the viewer.
Officer Steve Aponte said hate crimes became a hot-button issue during the early days of the pandemic, as the social justice movement gained momentum across the nation.
"We want to share that information because, one, it's poignant. Two, it shows the reality of the crimes that have occurred in San Jose. And on a broader scale, it shows how the community and San Jose Police partner together to increase reporting," said Aponte.
The hate crime incidents reported from 2012 to 2021, were fairly steady but begin to show marked growth from 2016 to 2019. By 2020, a sharp spike begins and continues through the end of 2021.
The number of incidents against Black, Latino, Asian and LGBTQ+ victims saw the greatest rates of increase from 2016 to 2021.
Below, the first number reflects 2016; the second 2021:
LGBTQ+ 22 2
Black 4 36
Latino 3 28
Asian 2 17
Gabrielle Antolovich, President of the Billy DeFrank Center, said the building on The Alameda was hit with anti-LGBTQ graffiti at least twice.
Antolovich said the rise in hate crimes in San Jose can be traced back to the Trump administration.
"When you have a leader that is just awful about everyone, then these people come out of the woodwork and feel that they have the right to hate anyone they want," said Antolovich. "Hate begets hate, especially when it's not challenged by the people around them."
Professor Russell Jeung at San Francisco State, and co-founder of the Stop AAPI Hate movement said national surveys, along with the self-reporting collected by the organization, corroborates the SJPD data.
According to Stop AAPI Hate, from March 19, 2020 to December 31, 2021, a total of 10,905 hate incidents against Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) persons were reported to the group.
"It's true that people are reporting more that police are more sensitive to hate crimes but it's also true that racism is also increasing in our nation, sadly," said Jeung.
Jeung also attributes the rise in hate crimes to Mr. Trump.
"Because of the political rhetoric employed by President Trump, hate has been normalized. And he used mocking language. He had divisive policies, such as building walls, and using the term 'Chinese virus', that I think that really exacerbated current racism or the ongoing deep-rooted racism in our country," said Jeung.
According to Jeung, racism surges in times of war, economic downturn, and pandemics.
"And we have all those three situations: a Cold War against China, a pandemic and the worst recession since the Great Depression. So all those three conditions lead to higher rates of racism," said Jeung. "It's sort of like the genie's out of the lamp. And that once the hate has become unleashed, it's hard to put it back in the bottle."
Jeung's team is now pushing for state legislation that would declare hate crimes and incidents a public health issue and establish a Civil Rights Bill to protect victims in stores, public transit and public thoroughfares.
Reverend Jeff Moore, former President of the San Jose/Silicon Valley Chapter of the NAACP, said he was "not surprised" by the numbers, and that Moore had been warning elected officials about the rise in such crimes for years.
Moore said knowing more about the attackers and the locations of the crimes would help focus resources to combat the problem.
"I'm really interested in knowing what part of the county it happened in. What are the demographics of the perpetrator, so we can start seeing who they are? So we can identify it and we can work on it and we can fix it. And we can put our energy and forces in those areas to help change that thought," said Moore. "If you don't start doing something about it, it's only going to get worse."
"If somebody feels like they don't want to report a crime because they just don't think it's such a big deal or perhaps they don't think anything is going to get done, I would say to the contrary. We investigate every crime that is reported to us. We will take a report 24/7. We will be there to make sure that you are not victimized again," said Aponte. "But the hope is that people do call regardless of what their past experiences were. We want them to know that we are here 100% For them."
for more features.