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In 2021, LA Had The Most Hate Crimes In Nearly 20 Years

Two people seen from the waist down hold signs that read: Racism is a pandemic and stop hate.
People hold signs during a 2021 rally against anti-Asian hate in Seattle.
(Jason Redmond
AFP via Getty Images )
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In 2021, L.A. County saw the highest number of hate crimes reported since 2002, the year following the 9/11 attacks that sparked a wave of anti-Muslim and anti-Arab sentiment. The L.A. County Commission on Human Relations documented 786 hate crimes reports, a 23% increase from 2020.

Some Findings

The increase continues an upward trend in recorded hate crimes against people of color, Jewish people, and the LGBTQ community.

Nearly three-quarters of the hate crimes were violent — mostly assaults. Black people were the largest group of hate crime victims — they comprised nearly half of all people targeted because of their race even though they make up just 9% of the county’s population.

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Ninety-six hate crimes included evidence of a white supremacist ideology on the part of the attacker — down 19% from 2020.

“This decline is surprising given that in the past few years, many white nationalist organizations have felt emboldened to hold public events (e.g. the deadly “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville) and brazenly attack counter-protesters,” the report states.

More Findings

  • Hate crimes grew across all motivation categories. But the largest increase was in racial crimes, which jumped 17% from 2020 to 2021, from 406 to 473. They comprised 58% of all reported hate crimes.
  • Anti-Latino crimes increased 10%, to 117. In 78% of these crimes, specifically anti-Mexican slurs were used.
  • The number of crimes targeting Asian Pacific Americans rose to 77 — up 67% from 2020. In 23% of these crimes the suspects blamed the victims for COVID-19.
  • Anti-immigrant slurs were used in 27% of anti-Asian crimes.
  • Religious crimes spiked 29%. Jews were targeted in 74% of these crimes.
  • Sexual orientation crimes increased 15% and the overwhelming majority targeted gay men.
  • Map Of Reports

The Context

Supervisor Janice Hahn called the numbers alarming, and said the report reflected a “hate crisis.”

Commission Executive Director Robin Toma added that only about half of all hate crimes are reported to law enforcement. “You can be confident that these numbers greatly understate what’s happening in our communities,” he said.

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