An Increase In Hate Crimes Has Disproportionately Affected LA's Black And Jewish Communities

This April 28, 2019, file photo shows Kyle Fox holding a sign with his father Brady Fox in support of the victims of Chabad of Poway synagogue shooting in Poway, Calif. (Denis Poroy/AP)

Los Angeles saw an increase in hate crimes between 2018 and 2019, with the black and Jewish communities affected at the highest rates.

According to data released by the Los Angeles Police Department Wednesday, 68 crimes against black people or institutions were committed in 2019 - up from 61 in 2018 and representing an 11.5% increase. Crimes committed against Jewish people or institutions saw an increase of 60%, rising from 43 to 69.

The large uptick in anti-Semitic crimes is partly due to the addition of what LAPD officials are calling "swastika vandalism."

In total, LAPD reported 322 hate crimes in 2019, up from 292 in 2018. Those include crimes based on race, religion, gender and sexual orientation.

Amanda Susskind, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League Los Angeles, told KPCC that an increase in hateful rhetoric is having "real-time ramifications."

"What we are always concerned about is when those kinds of things that are happening at the lower level of cultural norms... start to affect the numbers in actual criminal statistics," she said.

Crimes against the black community, said Susskind, are frequently prevalent in hate crime data.

"African American hate is an endemic problem in our culture, in our society and in our country," she said. "It affects everything in every way in which African Americans walk through life."

The report is the result of a motion passed by city council in 2018, which requested more information about local hate crimes. The motion, presented to the council's public safety committee by Councilmembers David Ryu, Bob Blumenfield, Mitchell Englander and Paul Koretz, noted the "wave of hate crimes that occurred in the wake of President Trump's November, 2016 election victory."

Coinciding with the release of the new figures, Ryu issued a letter and drafted a motion calling for the creation of an FBI task force to address the increase in attacks on the Jewish community.

The letter was co-signed by 20 Asian American and Pacific Islander organizations.

"An increasing number of anti-Semitic hate crimes in our City and our Country calls on all of us to respond," the letter states. "As leaders in the [Asian American and Pacific Islander] community, we recognize that the times are dangerous, and demand that we stand together and do more to fight against these hateful acts... This coalition stands to let perpetrators know that the over a million and a half AAPI Angelenos will help combat the attacks of our Jewish neighbors."