CITY NEWS SERVICE
LOS ANGELES (CNS) -- Hate crimes in Los Angeles rose by 15% in 2022, according to a report shared by the Los Angeles Police Department Tuesday, which attributed the increase to expanded outreach efforts that encourage the city's most vulnerable communities to report such crimes.
The department's analysis revealed 701 hate crimes and hate incidents in 2022, compared with 610 in 2021. Ninety of those were anti-Hispanic hate crimes, a decrease of 12% from 2021; 180 were anti-Black hate crimes, an increase of 36%; and 33 were anti-Asian hate crimes, which represents a 371% increase from the seven anti-Asian hate crimes reported in 2019, prior to the coronavirus pandemic.
According to the report, the Jewish community was the largest community affected by hate crimes in the religion category, with 89 antisemitic hate crimes reported in 2022, an increase of 24% from 2021.
The most common religion-biased crimes involve vandalism, criminal threats and harassment.
Gay men were the largest community affected by hate crimes in the sexual orientation category. Crimes against gay men included aggravated and simple assault, vandalism and criminal threats.
Often suspects in these crimes confront victims regarding their sexual orientation, resulting in a verbal or physical altercation. In 2022, there were 93 anti-gay hate crimes, a decrease of 9% from 2021.
Lastly, in the gender bias category of the report, the transgender community was primarily the victim of these crimes in 2022. Similar to hate crimes committed against gay men, suspects often confront their victims regarding their gender identity, resulting in a verbal or physical altercation.
The most common gender-biased crimes are assaults and criminal threats, with more aggravated assaults than simple assaults.
There were 29 anti-transgender hate crimes in 2022, an increase of 53% from 2021.
In 2022, there was one hate crime against a street vendor compared to two cases reported in 2021.
The LAPD presented its report to the city's Police Commission on Tuesday, prompted by a prior motion from the City Council. In March, the Council instructed the LAPD to provide current data on the impact of hate crimes in the city, including crimes against Latinos and street vendors.
The report included data on hate crimes from 2017-22. In those six years, hate crimes rose by 166% in the city of Los Angeles. The report attributed the spike to an increase of reporting, and said there is no evidence of "hate groups" entering the city and performing coordinated attacks against Angelenos.
Board President William Briggs said the report emphasized hate crime data rests on investigations after the fact. He asked officers what the department is doing to raise awareness.
Detective Orlando Martinez, the department's hate crime coordinator, said officers work with advocacy groups and faith-based organizations such as the Anti-Defamation League, Jewish Federation and others to host community meetings and outreach.
The department also partners with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, the FBI and other law enforcement agencies to provide insight into hate crime investigations and offer resources such as information on victims rights and bystander intervention techniques.
Hate crimes are currently reported in the same manner as other crimes, which is to have victims file a report or call 911 and wait for officers to assist them, Martinez said.
"There's not a mechanism by which hate crimes and hate incidents can be reported online," Captain Scot Williams, commanding officer of the department's Robbery-Homicide Division, told the commissioners. "They require the responsible officer (to) take those reports and the department is actively trying to develop a system by which at least hate crimes can be reported online."
Commissioner Maria Lou Calanche asked how the department is addressing hate crimes or crimes against street vendors given that some victims may not report them.
"That is exactly what this current initiative is attempting to do, while at the same time not giving a false impression that the department is doing something that it's not," Martinez said. "There's a critical balance."
In addition, the department is working to obtain a dedicated land line to initiate an officer response to hate crimes, as well as a database to consolidate hate crime data, officials said.
The commissioners moved to adopt the report and share its findings with the Council's Public Safety Committee at a future date.