In a meeting of the Los Angeles City Council Public Safety Committee on Jan. 22, LAPD officials announced that 2019 saw a 10.3% increase in hate crimes, which have steadily increased from 229 reported hate crimes in 2016 to 322 reported hate crimes in 2019.
Anti-Jewish crimes were the highest last year, with 69 reported over 43 in 2018, a 60.5% increase, followed by 68 hate crimes against African Americans and 53 against gay men. The largest increase in hate crimes were against the Muslim community, a 150% increase over 2018.
“Year after year, we have seen hate rising in our city and across our nation, and we have not done enough to keep communities safe,” Councilmember David Ryu of the 4th Council District said during the committee hearing. “We need to take these numbers seriously – because behind every one of these numbers is a religious minority, a person of color, a transgender or LGBTQ person suffering in fear.
“This is not what Los Angeles should be about. We should be increasing our funding and protection for vulnerable communities and be proactive about hate crime prevention. If we don’t stand up for these communities, who will?”
“It is unfortunate, but no surprise, that hate crimes are up in the region. My office has been tracking and working diligently on prevention and intervention measures to reduce hate crimes since the spike became apparent,” said Councilmember Paul Koretz of the 5th District. “Our focus must be turned towards the future, which includes a multi-pronged approach. The first is shoring up physical infrastructure security at institutions. The second is closing the gap of communication with law enforcement and relevant agencies. The third is educating our community on a regular basis on how to report acts of hate and take action.
“We must combat hate wherever it rears its ugly head, and fight for more funding for hate crime prevention.”
“It is no secret that hate crimes have become more frequent over the past few years but it’s sobering and disappointing to read through the new LAPD statistics,” said Councilmember Bob Blumenfield of the 3rd District. “Whether you tag a swastika on a synagogue which happens too often in my district, or physically assault someone because they are different, that is a hate crime and you will be held accountable.”
The new data also showed a 23.5% increase last year in hate crimes against transgender Angelenos, for a total of 21 reported hate crimes. This is nearly three times the anti-transgender hate crimes reported in 2016.
The report was in response to a motion co-introduced by Ryu, Blumenfield, Koretz and former Councilmember Mitch Englander in 2017 to track hate crimes in the city and identify ways to increase proactive protection for vulnerable Los Angeles institutions and communities.
In the committee meeting, LAPD officials reported a lack of state and federal government funds available for hate crime prevention. Ryu, following previous legislation he pushed in 2018, introduced new instructions for LAPD, including a report on the feasibility of developing a citywide communications tool that would serve as a single point of contact for critical incident coordination and information-sharing for hate crime prevention.
Ryu has repeatedly pushed the city to increase its reporting and proactive prevention strategies of hate crimes and incidents. In 2019, he launched a Hate Crime Security Fund to provide grants to vulnerable institutions across Council District 4, made possible through discretionary funding.
Read the 2019 hate crime data here.
Assistant City Council President Pro Tempore Ryu’s district ncludes Griffith Park, Sherman Oaks, Toluca Lake, Hollywood, Hollywood Hills, Los Feliz, Silver Lake, Miracle Mile, Hancock Park, Windsor Square, Larchmont and portions of Koreatown and Van Nuys.