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Criminal Justice

Rising Number Of LA Hate Crimes On Track To Exceed Last Year’s Record

Two people hold cardboard signs that read 'Racism is a pandemic' and 'STOP HATE.'
People hold signs during the "We Are Not Silent" rally against anti-Asian hate in response to recent anti-Asian crime in Seattle, Washington on March 13, 2021.
(JASON REDMOND/AFP via Getty Images)
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Los Angeles is on pace this year to exceed last year's record number of hate crimes with an almost 17% increase in attacks against underrepresented communities.

USC's data journalism outlet, Crosstown, crunched the data from the Los Angeles Police Department doe January to June 2022. They found an uptick in hate crimes across the board, but for those involving the Black community, hate crimes increased by about 15%.

The number of hate crimes against the LGBTQ+ community, particularly anti-transgender hate crimes, also increased from six incidents last year to 18 this year.

Terra Russell-Slavin, Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Chief Impact Officer, says that prominent anti-LGBT legislation is promoting dehumanization of individuals prone to violence.

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“We are in a time with incredible polarization and an uptick in blatant anti-LGBTQ and anti-transgender specific rhetoric in our communities and on media and legislative, you know, sort of bodies across the country,” said Russell-Slavin. “And so I think that has an impact.”

Russell-Slavin says the LAPD data only captures a portion of hate crimes against LGBTQ+ people, since some may feel ostracized or intimidated to report due to their identity or immigration status.

According to the  U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics survey fewer than half of all hate crimes were reported to police.

A horizontal bar graph with purple bars shows the increase of reported hate crimes from the years 2018 all the way to 2022 for the equivalent time period of Jan. 1 to June 30. The bars get longer and longer as the years go by. The first line for 2018 reads 127 reported hate crimes, 2019 had 157 reported hate crimes, 2020 had 171 reported hate crimes, 2021 had 299 reported hate crimes, and 2022 has 349 hate crimes so far.
The number of reported hate crimes this year are on track to topple last year's record number of cases.
LAPD Crime Dataset)

Russel-Slavin also said that these crimes especially target Black and Latinx transgender women, whose vulnerable intersections in the face of racism, sexism, and transphobia make them more prone to violence. In fact, last year was the deadliest year in the country on record for transgender and non-binary people, with majority of the 57 victims being Black and Latinx.

The key to prevention of these attacks? Russel-Slavin says it’s affirmation, acceptance education and survivor advocacy is critical for tolerance of vulnerable groups.For example, the LA LGBT Center spearheads the Out For Safe School program, which is a program that teaches school staff how to be LGBT allies.

“I think, to the extent that we can continue community conversations, increased resources, address the historic discrimination, because all of those historic legacies of discrimination and oppression put people at risk.”

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