Citing a dramatic increase in hate crimes reported in Los Angeles, the City Council instructed the police department Tuesday to develop measures to protect “vulnerable institutions” from violence and vandalism.
LAPD recently reported total hate crimes increased 10.3% in 2019 compared to the prior year. That number has risen 40% over the last four years.
“Hate crimes continue to rise across our country, but today, Los Angeles is taking a stand,” Councilman David Ryu said. “We will not give in to fear or cynicism. We will not accept this as the new normal.”
The council action requires LAPD to provide periodic reports to the council’s Public Safety Committee on the number of hate crimes reported each year.
It also requires the police department to take proactive measures to protect institutions like synagogues, mosques and cultural centers, to increase outreach and information sharing, and requires it to distribute hate crime information pamphlets in multiple languages.
“It is unfortunate, but no surprise, that hate crimes are up in the region,” Councilman Paul Koretz said. “My office has been tracking and working diligently on prevention and intervention measures to reduce hate crimes since the spike became apparent. Our focus must be turned towards the future, which includes a multi-pronged approach.”
According to the LAPD, there were 229 reported hate crimes in 2016 and 322 in 2019. Anti-Semitic crimes were the highest last year, with 43 in 2018 and 44 in 2019. LAPD officials said those numbers did not include “swastika vandalism,” a new crime statistic tracked by LAPD, with 25 of those incidents taking place last year for a total of 69.
The group of people who experienced the second-highest number of hate crimes were black residents, with 68. Gay men experienced 53 hate crimes.
The Muslim community had five victims of hate crimes in 2019, compared to two in 2018.
LAPD has pointed to a lack of state and federal government funds available for hate crime prevention.
LAPD Capt. Jonathan Tippet has said it’s possible the crime numbers are up because the police department is reaching out and making a better effort to communicate to groups who are most targeted by hate crimes.
“I think it’s our showing of compassion, our care that we actually want to investigate these crimes that’s caused people to come forward and to report these crimes more frequently,” Tippet said in January.
The 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, LAPD officials stated.
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