L.A. Hate Crime Continues to Surge, but it Has Exploded in Long Beach

A scene from a Los Angeles anti-Trump demonstration
A scene from a Los Angeles anti-Trump demonstration
Brian Feinzimer/L.A. Weekly

Hate crime in the city of Los Angeles remains on the rise in the era of President Trump, according to preliminary midyear data from the Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism at Cal State San Bernardino. Such incidents surged 12.6 percent compared with the same time last year. The increase would put Los Angeles on track for a fourth straight year of hate-crime increases, according to the center's data.

Researchers used L.A. Police Department data to measure violent aggravated assaults and other incidents motivated by hate. Los Angeles' midyear increase was mild compared with other cities. Long Beach was looking at a preliminary surge of 700 percent this year; San Jose, 400 percent; San Francisco, 100 percent; Portland, Oregon, 233 percent; and New York, 28 percent.

The number of hate crimes in the city of Los Angeles through the end of July was 161, versus 143 at the same point in 2016, preliminary figures show.

"The combination of an escalating set of connected rallies, increasing polarization and political instability, coupled with the dawn of a new academic year for universities, means this trend likely has not yet peaked," the report's author, criminal justice professor Brian Levin, said via email.

Academics pointed to greater numbers of confrontational protests and events across the nation at which people have been injured. A chart with preliminary data shows statewide arrests, injuries and incidents so far this year at demonstrations regarding police shootings, Trump's election, Black Lives Matter, Islamic customs, and "America First." The nation has experienced "significant aggressive physical disruption of lawful public gatherings," Levin said.

The Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism at Cal State San Bernardino's full data for 2016 is sobering and worth a review. It can be found in its Special Status Report: Hate Crime in the City of Los Angeles:

  • Attacks on whites were relatively few — 12 — but represented a near doubling of the figure — 7 — from the previous year, researchers found. "It's a recurring horrendous trend but off a small pool of cases," Levin said.
  • The city last year saw its largest number of hate crimes since 2008. Academics recorded three straight years of increases from 2014 to 2016 in Los Angeles.
  • Los Angeles was not the nation's hate-crime leader, but it was close. "Of the localities surveyed, Los Angeles had the third largest number of hate crimes in the nation, with only New York, with 380, and Boston, with 275, reporting more," according to the report.
  • Local hate crimes against African-Americans were up from 48 to 54 last year; from 19 to 25 for Latinos; and from 3 to 7 for Asian-Americans and Asian-Pacific Americans. What academics describe as "anti-Arab" hate crimes actually decreased from 5 to 2, according to the analysis.
  • Anti-Jewish hate crimes dominated the religious data, but they decreased from 2015, from 46 to 37, the data shows. Hate crimes against gay men exploded last year, increasing from 24 to 42 since 2015, Cal State San Bernardino found.
  • There was a 15 percent increase overall in city hate crime in 2016. Racially motivated crime was up 18.5 percent and anti-LGBTQ crime was up nearly 25 percent.

"A hate crime is more than just an attack on an individual or group, it is a violent tear at the fabric of our community," LAPD public information director Josh Rubenstein said via email.

He said that, despite LAPD's appointment of a hate-crimes coordinator and extra detectives throughout the department's divisions, Los Angeles "and other major cities across the nation [are] dealing with this uptick in reported hate crimes."

"The LAPD is committed to keeping our vibrant and dynamic city safe, while celebrating the diversity that makes Los Angeles one of the most exciting cities in America," he said.


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