Crime & Justice

Hate crimes in LA County inch up in 2014

FILE: Zeena Sabri (L) and Rima Karuf join members of the Society of Arab Students at the University of California Irvine to protest the destruction of a cardboard wall that was supposed to portray the security wall built to keep Palestinian suicide bombers out of Israel on May 27, 2004 in Irvine, California.
FILE: Zeena Sabri (L) and Rima Karuf join members of the Society of Arab Students at the University of California Irvine to protest the destruction of a cardboard wall that was supposed to portray the security wall built to keep Palestinian suicide bombers out of Israel on May 27, 2004 in Irvine, California.
David McNew/Getty Images

Hate crimes in Los Angeles County inched up last year. The data show an increase particularly in violence against members of the LGBT community and a majority of racially-motivated attacks directed toward African Americans.

The rate of criminal offenses motivated by bias, hatred or prejudice countywide saw a 1 percent increase in 2014 compared to the year prior, according to the L.A. County Commission on Human Relations, which released its annual hate crimes report on Thursday.

Despite the uptick, the overall trend has been downward since the attacks of September 11, 2001, when hate crimes peaked because of a rise in anti-Muslim and anti-Middle Eastern sentiment. The county saw its lowest rate in 25 years in 2013, and 2014 came in at the second lowest, the report stated.

Still, some groups continue to be victimized more than others. According to the report, four groups have consistently made up the bulk of all hate crime victims: African Americans, lesbians and gay men, Jews and Latinos.

Among gays and lesbians, the proportion of hate crimes that involve violence increased from an already-high 71 percent to 81 percent, the highest since 2003. And 93 percent of hate crimes directed against transgender people were violent, the report found.

African Americans meanwhile accounted for more than two-thirds of the victims in race-related crimes, despite making up only 8 percent of the county's residents.

"Many of these crimes are committed by gang members," Robin Toma, the commission's executive director, said in a statement. "Our agency has invested significant time and resources to reduce hate crimes, especially racially-motivated gang violence."

Toma said she was encouraged by the overall downward trend in hate crimes in recent years, but said under-reporting remains a problem.

You can read the full report below.