With reported hate crimes on the rise, the City Council unanimously voted Wednesday to instruct the Los Angeles Police Department to report back on possible security enhancements around potentially at-risk institutions.
The council also directed the LAPD to identify any possible state or federal funding for security enhancements, and to develop a scalable communications program similar to The Jewish Federation’s Community Security Initiative.
“The city of Los Angeles is home to one of the most diverse tapestries of religious, ethnic and cultural communities in the nation,” Councilman David Ryu said. “There is no room for hate. Unfortunately, with a national trend toward emboldening hate, we need to be doing more to protect our religious, ethnic and LGBTQ communities.”
A total of 254 hate crimes were reported in Los Angeles in 2017, a 10.9 percent increase over the 229 crimes motivated by hate that were reported in 2016, according to the LAPD. Preliminary data indicates a 5 percent increase in 2018 over 2017, Ryu’s office said.
“It’s incredibly sad and frustrating to see hate crimes are locally on the rise, following national trends,” Councilman Bon Blumenfield said. “People are not born full of hate. This is something they learn and are conditioned for and these measures aim to help create a more culturally accepting city.”
The Jewish Federation of Los Angeles, which created the Community Security Initiative in 2012, says on its website that the program serves as a “single point of contact for critical incident coordination, information and intelligence sharing, safety and security training and resources for all of Jewish Los Angeles.”
The CSI also says it has created a database linking hundreds of Jewish sites, visited more than 266 synagogues, schools and other institutions, and trained over 2,000 people in safety and security awareness.
“It is vitally important that the Los Angeles Jewish community and the wider Los Angeles community take responsibility for doing what they can to increase their security,” said Ivan Wolkind, chief operating and financial officer of The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles. “We have a wonderful police department, of which I am a proud member, but we also need to be partners in our own safety.”
Hate crimes increased by 5 percent in 2017 in Los Angeles County, compared with the prior year, continuing a four-year upward trend that has seen a 32 percent jump in such incidents, according to a report by the county Commission on Human Relations released last October.
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