Hate crimes in Los Angeles County fell 28 percent in 2010 to their lowest level in 21 years, according to a new annual report from the L.A. County Commission on Human Relations.
The number of reported hate crimes fell to 427 from 593 the year before. It was the third consecutive year the number has fallen.
“We are encouraged by this third year of declines and the historic low in hate crime reports,” commission Executive Director Robin Toma said in a statement.
Toma credited the commission’s “focused efforts on human relations in schools and strengthening gang violence reduction programs in targeted areas; new attention to reentry services and systems for youth and young adults that can reduce recidivism and gang violence; and law enforcement crack-downs on gangs carrying out hate violence in certain neighborhoods.”
The report shows that the majority of hate crimes were racially motivated (51 percent), with blacks targeted most frequently (53 percent).
“Hate crimes between African Americans and Latinos remained disturbingly high,” a commission statement said. “Latinos were suspects in 59 percent of the anti-black crimes, and blacks were suspects in 68 percent the anti-Latino crimes. Nearly half of Latino-on-black crimes were committed by gang members.”
The statement said the largest numbers of hate crimes were concentrated in the San Fernando Valley (the report counts the Santa Clarita Valley as part of the San Fernando Valley), followed by the L.A. metro region stretching from West Hollywood to Boyle Heights.
The report said sexual orientation crimes comprised 26 percent of the total and were more likely to be violent in nature (70 percent) compared to racial crimes (66 percent) and religious crimes (18 percent). Hate crimes motivated by religion dropped 42 percent and the largest number, anti-Jewish crimes, fell by half.
So Santa Clarita was an anomaly. The report detailed one reported incident of a hate crime in Santa Clarita on May 31, as follows:
“Victim and his wife went over to a neighbor’s house to retrieve a ping pong ball. The suspect, who is a known white supremacist, saw that the victim’s wife was wearing a Jewish necklace and began calling her a ‘fat Jew’ and said, ‘F- Jews.’ When the victim tried to break things up, the suspect hit him in the back of the head. Friends of the victim put the suspect in a choke hold until (sheriff’s deputies) arrived.”