Hate Crimes in L.A. County Decline to Lowest Number in 24 Years

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Number of API victims increases slightly.

The Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations (LACCHR) on Wednesday released its annual analysis of hate crimes reported throughout the county, stating that hate crimes decreased 17 percent from 462 to 384 in 2013.

Similar to past years, four groups constituted 82 percent of all hate crime victims in 2013: African Americans, lesbians and gay men, Jews, and Latinos. However, two groups saw dramatic decreases. Crimes targeting gay men dropped 41 percent from 119 to 70, and anti-Jewish crimes declined 48 percent from 81 to 42.

Robin Toma

Robin Toma

Moreover, juveniles are showing up as a smaller percentage of all hate crime suspects over the past several years, becoming the smallest age group for the first time in at least the past 10 years. Persons under 18 went from being the largest age group among hate crime suspects (40 percent) in 2006, to being the smallest (14 percent) in 2013.

Furthermore, the most serious criminal offenses also declined. For the first time in 10 years, there were no murders or attempted murders. Aggravated assaults, which include assaults with deadly weapons and physical attacks causing greater bodily injury, decreased 38 percent.

Although reports of hate crimes against most targeted groups declined, there were some groups that saw increases in 2013 compared to the previous year. These include lesbians (11 to 25), transgender persons (13 to 19), Asian/Pacific Islanders (12 to 15), Protestants (4 to 8), and Middle Easterners (4 to 5). Hate crimes with anti-immigrant slurs did not see a decline either (15 to 15).

“We’re gratified that in 2013, the number of hate crimes in L.A. County was about half of what was reported six years ago, and there’s a strong downward trend of youth involvement in hate crimes,” said Robin Toma, LACCHR executive director. “However, on average more than one hate crime was reported every day in 2013, and not every group saw a decline in hate crimes.

“We’ll be focusing on those crimes, particularly the continued high rate of violence in anti-transgender hate crimes, victimization of African Americans by gang members, and continuing human relations leadership development with our youth. Our agency has invested significant time and resources to build collaborative projects to address these issues.”

“The continued decline in the number of hate crimes should not lull us into complacency. We know that the under-reporting of hate crimes remains a serious problem,” LACCHR President Susanne Cumming remarked. “Although the statistics are encouraging, we have to remember that fear, shame, and unfamiliarity with the law prevent many victims from reporting hate crimes.”

“I attribute the continued decrease of hate crimes to a strong working relationship between law enforcement, educators and a broad array of dedicated community-based organizations throughout L.A. County,” Sheriff John L. Scott commented. “Collectively, we have made hate crime prevention efforts a priority and we are seeing the results of this work.”

Hate crimes occurred throughout all regions of the county, but the largest number took place in the San Fernando Valley. However, when accounting for population, the Antelope Valley had the highest rate of hate crimes, followed by the Metro region, which stretches from West Hollywood to Boyle Heights.

To view the complete report, including hate crime maps, graphs and tables, visit www.lahumanrelations.org.

API Victims of Racial Hate Crimes in 2013

• Feb. 25, Long Beach: At a middle school, three 7th-grade suspects (two were black and one Latino) forced four students into to a storage closet and locked them inside. The victims were kicked and hit while they were being dragged into the closet. The suspects chose their victims based on their race, specifically stating, “Let’s get some Asians and Mexicans.” Two of the victims were Asian, and one had a Hmong family name.

• March 15, Palmdale: A Filipino man’s walkway, driveway, garage, and car were vandalized. Eggs were thrown at the walkway, driveway, garage, and car. The words “UR a fag,” “Asian bitch,” and “H8 U” were painted on his car. (This case had multiple motivations and is also listed under sexual orientation crimes.)

• March 24, Los Angeles: An Indian man was walking and passed by two black males who were sitting in a parked car. The suspects began yelling racial slurs at the victim. One of the suspects exited the vehicle and brandished a pistol to intimidate him. The suspects then fled.

• June 21, Downtown Los Angeles: An Asian male was driving on freeway when a white male started weaving in and out of lanes and cutting people off. The suspect pulled up beside the victim (who had windows down) and began shouting racial slurs at him. The suspect repeatedly tried to cut off the victim and make him crash. He also threw soda, an energy drink can, and a water bottle through victim’s open window. At one point the victim pulled to the side of the road. The suspect stopped too and got out of his car. He started to walk toward the victim but the victim fled in his car in fear for his safety.

• June 3, Rowland Heights: A Chinese man was ordering at a fast-food restaurant when he was approached by an older Latino male. The suspect told him, “Why don’t you say thank you, you f—n’ gook, slopehead” and then punched the victim in the face. The victim lost consciousness for five to 10 seconds. Police were called, and they detained the suspect, who admitted attacking the victim.

• June 3, Lancaster: A Filipino man found that someone spray-painted “KKK” on his three trash bins. His home had been vandalized in the past.

• June 17, Lancaster: The same Filipino victim’s wife found that an unknown suspect had thrown red paint on their back fence and left a shotgun shell with a swastika and “KKK” written on it.

• Aug. 11, West Hollywood: A Korean man was parking his vehicle when a white suspect ran up to him and said, “You Asian Nip!” The victim could smell alcohol on the suspect’s breath. The victim turned away and began walking down the street. A female pedestrian stopped him and told him his vehicle was being vandalized. The victim turned to see the suspect crouched by his car. When he returned to his car, the suspect fled the scene. The victim found multiple scratches on the door of his car, probably from a key.

• Aug. 23, Los Angeles: Upon leaving work, a Filipino man found a note on his car saying, “You’re not a doctor in America. Hey gook, I’ll kill you gook. I’ll kill your family. F–k you eyes. I’ll stab you to death. I have a knife on me.” Two of his tires were also slashed. The victim works as a nurse but had been a doctor in the Philippines.

• Sept. 18, City of Industry: Police detained a white male suspect who was vandalizing a Chinese restaurant. When questioned, he said he did it because the owner is Asian and he believed that Asians received preferential treatment from the government in the form of tax breaks and grants.

• Sept. 30, West Covina: A Chinese man found all four of the tires on his car had been punctured. There were various epithets written in the dust of the vehicle — “Faggot,” “Joker,” “18th St.,” “cock head” — and a drawing of a female and male with slanted eyes and the word “Chink.” The victim’s vehicle had been vandalized eight or nine times in the past eight months.

• Nov. 11, Pasadena: A Chinese woman found a swastika written on the sidewalk in front of her home along with words about Hitler.

• Dec. 11, Cerritos: A 16-year-old Korean victim was followed by four white teenagers, who taunted him, “Ching-chong can’t speak English.” After following him for several blocks, they attacked and robbed him.

• Dec. 16, La Mirada: A 15-year-old Korean student was walking after school when a group of six Latino males yelled, “Chinaman, Chink, p—y” and “This is my hood.” The victim asked them to stop. A black male who had been watching threw an open soda can at him. Two of the Latino suspects ran towards the victim. One punched him in the stomach, causing the victim to fall to the ground. The victim covered his face and was punched in the head several times. The attackers yelled out some numbers, possibly to show their gang affiliation. School security guards yelled at the suspects to stop. Some of the Latino suspects got into a car with the black male suspect and drove away.

API Victims of Sexual Orientation Crimes in 2013

• Aug. 7, Hollywood: An Asian male was sitting at a bus stop when a black male approached him and said, “I hate faggots. Go ahead and open your mouth so I can punch it.” The victim tried calling police on public phone but the suspect said, “You’re not calling the police on no one, you f—ing faggot!” and punched victim twice in the head. A witness was able to drag the victim away. The witness later spotted suspect at a library. When arrested, the suspect admitted, “I know why you’re here, it’s cause I f—ed that faggot up. You don’t need to explain sh-t to me, I f—ed up that faggot.”

• Dec. 22, Downtown Los Angeles: After it became known that he is gay, a Samoan inmate was repeatedly punched by two other Pacific Islander inmates.

API Victims of Religious Crimes in 2013

• April 3, Los Angeles: The words “F–k Islam” were scratched into the door of a Bangladeshi woman’s car, and an unknown liquid was on the front driver’s side window.

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