A motion to have Los Angeles explore using rewards to help obtain information leading to the arrest and conviction of people who commit hate crimes was introduced Tuesday by City Councilman John Lee.
If approved by the City Council, the motion would instruct the Office of the Chief Legislative Analyst and City Attorney’s Office to report on the ability of the city to use its existing reward program or create a new reward program for information leading to the identification, arrest and conviction of people committing hate crimes.
“Rewards encourage otherwise reticent individuals to provide key information on serious crimes to investigators, and also serve as a valuable tool to draw attention from the media and others to these crimes to generate investigative leads,” the motion said.
“When the council can clearly issue rewards for information related to more serious hate crimes, such as assault or murder, it is not clear that the existing reward program can be used for other, less violent hate crimes.”
There were a record 62 hate crimes reported in Los Angeles in April, according to Los Angeles Police Department records that date back to 2010.
The previous high was 51 reported in August 2020, according to Crosstown, a nonprofit news organization based at the USC Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism. Hate crimes increased for the seventh consecutive year in 2020, Crosstown reported.
Thirty-three of the hate crimes reported in April involved a verbal threat or the use of bodily force to injure. Thirteen of those hate crimes were classified as battery-simple assault, according to LAPD data cited by Crosstown.
Over the past year, there has been mounting concern about the rise of crimes motivated by bias, particularly against people of Asian descent. Hate crimes against Los Angeles’ Asian American Pacific Islander community increased by 114% in 2020, according to LAPD data.
Manjusha P. Kulkarni, co-founder of Stop AAPI Hate, said in March that 360 hate incidents in Los Angeles have been reported to the nonprofit since its launch on March 19, 2020. A total of 3,800 incidents have been reported in the United States during the year.
Other groups have also experienced an increase in attacks. On May 18, a group of Jewish diners at a sushi restaurant near the Beverly Center were attacked by a group shouting antisemitic slogans. The police are investigating the incident as an apparent hate crime.