Crime & Justice

Reported LA hate crimes rose 15 percent in 2016

Same-sex marriage supporters hold pride flags next to an altered street sign that reads
Same-sex marriage supporters hold pride flags next to an altered street sign that reads "CASE CLOSED!' while celebrating the U.S Supreme Court ruling regarding same-sex marriage on June 26, 2015, in San Francisco. The high court ruled that same-sex couples have the right to marry in all 50 states.
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Hate crimes reported in the city of Los Angeles increased by 15 percent in 2016, a new report from California State University, San Bernardino shows.

With 230 hate crimes, 2016 marked the third consecutive year of increase in LA and the most hate crimes reported since 2008, which saw 280 hate crimes.

CSUSB’s Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism analyzed LAPD data to form the report.

Hate crimes are defined as “criminal acts motivated in significant part by the actual or perceived group characteristic of another such as race, religion and sexual orientation.” This can include a range of incidents, from annoying phone calls to homicide.

The report attributes the overall increase to a 64 percent surge in violent aggravated assaults —though vandalism and destruction is still the most common form of hate crime — as well as an 18.5 percent rise in racially motivated crimes and a 24.5 percent increase in crimes against the LGBT community.

By race and ethnicity, anti-black hate crimes were highest at 54 occurrences, followed by 25 hate crimes against Hispanics. The least amount of reported hate crimes was against people of multiple races and Arabs, with two reported crimes per group, and one report of a hate crime against someone who was not a citizen.

By religion, anti-Jewish hate crimes comprised a majority with 37, followed by 7 hate crimes against people of unspecified other religions and 5 against Islamic Muslims.

Overall there was a decrease in anti-Muslim and anti-Jewish hate crimes.

By sexual orientation, hate crimes against gay males were highest, at 42 occurrences, while 9 hate crimes against gay females were reported and one anti-heterosexual crime was reported.

The center's director Brian Levin says rhetoric by people in positions of power after a cataclysmic event has occurred can be influential.

“We found an increase in anti-Muslim hate crimes five days after the San Bernardino terrorist attack in December 2015,” Levin told KPCC. “What was interesting, on the fifth day, then-candidate Trump tweeted and gave a speech where he anointed his Muslim-ban proposal for the first time -- hate crimes went up 87.5 percent in the next five days, above the already elevated level.”

In 2001, the year of the 9/11 attacks, LA had 559 hate crimes, its highest amount so far this century.

LA had the third highest amount of reported hate crimes in the nation in 2016, behind Boston and New York.

See the full report below.