Amid Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's claims that Mexican immigrants are a criminal source of America's alleged decline, the latest Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations Hate Crime Report, released today, says such violations against Latinos in this metropolis increased 69 percent last year.
To be fair, Trump's name doesn't appear in the report, and commission officials didn't point any fingers his way. They let the data speak for itself.
Overall hate crimes in the county declined for seven years until 2015, when they rose 24 percent across the board, according to the commission. Hate crime increased 10 percent statewide last year. Sadly, Mexican Mafia–tied street gangs were blamed for the oversize share of hate crimes targeting African-Americans.
"As in past years, the largest number of hate crimes targeted African-Americans, who represent only about 8.3 percent of county residents but [who] were 58 percent of victims of racial hate crime," according to a summary of the report. "A significant factor driving the over-representation of black hate crime victims are racially motivated attacks by street gangs, mostly those with ties to the prison-based Mexican Mafia gang."
The commission found that hate crimes rose "across the board" by race, sexual orientation, religion, gender and gender identity. "Anti-Muslim and –Middle Eastern crimes spiked in November and December after the terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino," according to the summary.. L.A. County saw the largest overall increase in hate crimes since 2011.
It's a hateful time.
"We are extremely concerned that reported hate crimes increased dramatically in 2015," said Robin Toma, executive director of the commission. "The disturbing rise in bias-motivated crime indicates that, despite the gains made by historically marginalized communities, bigoted attacks are still a daily occurrence, and that is unacceptable."
Anti-Latino hate crimes increased from 36 in 2014 to 61 last year, according to the report. "There were 34 crimes in which the suspects used specifically anti-immigrant language, such as 'wetback' or 'You don’t belong here,'" the report states. "Seventy-four percent of crimes involving anti-immigrant slurs were of a violent nature ... "
Anti-Asian hate crimes exploded from six in 2014 to 18 last year. But the report says that's still far lower than what Asian-Americans saw in the '00s. There was a slight decrease in anti-white hate crimes, from 12 to 11, the report says.
The report says transgender women represent the group that saw the highest rate of hate-crime violence last year. The rate of violent hate crimes overall increased just one percentage point between 2014 and 2015, the commission found, but it also noted there were three attempted murders designated as hate crimes last year.
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Of the 483 hate crimes tracked by the commission in 2015, the largest number happened in the San Fernando Valley. The region with the next highest number of hate crimes was the L.A. Basin from Boyle Heights to West Hollywood, the report found. The commission says the western side of the county was home to "a large number of anti-Jewish vandalisms."
Way to make L.A. shine, people. This isn't Trump country. We can do better.