Hate crimes rose in Los Angeles County last year, and Long Beach wasn’t immune

The number of hate crimes reported in Los Angeles County rose 5 percent last year, according to a report released Thursday by the county’s Commission on Human Relations.

Last year’s increase is just the latest in a trend that’s seen hate crimes increase 32 percent since 2013, something that has officials “extremely concerned,” the commission’s executive director, Robin Toma, said in a statement.

Last year’s bump in hate crimes holds true for Long Beach as well, according to numbers provided by the police department.

There were 17 hate crimes reported in the city in 2017 compared to 10 in 2016, according to the statistics. Long Beach had some high-profile hate-incidents last year including bomb threats at a local Jewish center, and someone spray-painting the word “illegal” on a church banner and various cars including a Latino man’s van.

Year Hate crimes reported in Long Beach
2014 10
2015 12
2016 10
2017 17
2018 (through Aug. 13) 6

Data provided by the Long Beach Police Department

“The rise in L.A. County mirrors increases in hate crimes in most major U.S. cities in 2017,” Toma said.

Of the 508 hate crimes reported in Los Angeles County last year, 50 percent of them were racially motivated, according to the report. Of those crimes, African Americans were disproportionately targeted.

“African Americans only comprise 9 percent of L.A. County residents but make up 50 percent of racial hate crime victims,” the commission said in a news release.

Other findings from the report included:

  • Crimes targeting the Latino population also rose for the third year in a row from 62 to 72.
  • Crimes targeting the LGBTQ community declined by 2 percent, but most of the crimes reported were of a violent nature. Every single anti-lesbian crime was violent, and crimes targeting transgender victims were also overwhelmingly violent, 94 percent.
  • There were 101 crimes targeting victims for their religion. Of those, 72 percent targeted Jewish victims.
  • In nine cases, hate-crime suspects referenced President Trump’s name.

The full report is available here.

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Jeremiah Dobruck is the breaking news editor for the Long Beach Post. He began his journalism career in 2007 as an intern at Palos Verdes Peninsula News and has worked for The Forum Newsgroup in New York City, the Daily Pilot and the Press-Telegram. He lives in Torrance with his wife, Lindsey, and their two young children, Paul and Simon.
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