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Criminal Justice

Anti-Black, Anti-Asian Hate Crimes In CA Rose Sharply In 2021

A child with a light brown face mask holds a green and white sign that says "Stop Racist Violence" in black letters. Behind the child is an adult holding a blue and white sign that says the same thing.
A child takes part in a March 2021 rally in L.A.'s Little Tokyo to raise awareness of anti-Asian violence.
(Ringo Chiu
AFP via Getty Images)
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Hate crimes in California rose in 2021 to the highest levels reported since 2001, according to a new report from the California Department of Justice.

Hate crimes grew overall by almost 33%, while those against Black people were most prevalent, increasing from 456 in 2020 to 513 in 2021, according to the report.

Anti-Asian crimes meanwhile nearly tripled from 89 reported incidents in 2020 to 247 last year, while hate crimes motivated by sexual orientation and religious biases also increased.

State Attorney General Rob Bonta said the report shows a “grim reality” and that California’s “fight for inclusion is far from over.”

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“We don't shy away from the hard truths. We learn from them. And one hard truth in our state — just as we've seen across the nation — is that the epidemic of hate we saw spurred on during the pandemic remains a clear and present threat,” Bonta said.

The last time hate crimes grew so considerably was in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in 2001. That year saw an increase in incidents of 15.5%, with Muslims and those appearing to be of Arab or Middle Eastern descent bearing the brunt.

Bonta said he has created a new position of hate crime coordinator that will work with state and local law enforcement.

Last year, he also established a Racial Justice Bureau focused on prevention after a significant rise in hate crimes against Asians and Asian Americans in 2020.

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