The Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously Friday to explore using rewards to help obtain information leading to the arrest and conviction of people who commit hate crimes.
Without comment, the council unanimously approved the motion — which was introduced June 8 by Councilman John Lee. The motion instructs the Office of the Chief Legislative Analyst and City Attorney’s Office to report on the ability of the city to expand its existing reward program to offer rewards 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,” according to the motion.
The motion notes that while 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.”
The motion cites a record 62 hate crimes — many committed against the Asian American Pacific Islander community — 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.
Over the past year-and-a-half, 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.