Photo by John Schreiber.

Black people, gays and lesbians have become prime targets of increasing numbers of hate crimes in Orange County, a report expected to be released Tuesday reveals.

Hate crimes in Orange County increased last year compared to 2015, but the rate of hate “incidents” jumped even higher, according to the annual report from the Orange County Human Relations Commission.

There were 50 reported hate crimes last year in Orange County, a 13.6 increase from the 44 in 2015, according to a draft of the report released in June.

Hate incidents rose 67.4 percent from 43 in 2015 to 72 in 2016, according to the commission. Hate incidents are defined as racially charged instances that don’t necessarily rise to the level of a crime.

Blacks are the most frequent target of hate crimes in Orange County, despite only making up 2.1 percent of the county’s population. Fourteen percent of the county’s reported hate crimes involved black residents, according to the commission.

The second most targeted group was lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender residents, who accounted for 10 percent of the hate crimes

There was a drop in hate crimes against LGBT individuals from 11 in 2015 to five last year.

Hate crimes against Latinos doubled from two in 2015 to four last year. There was an increase from three to four in hate crimes against Asians.

Anti-Semitic hate crimes dropped from seven in 2015 to four last year. Christians were victims of three hate crimes.

The most common targets of hate incidents were Latinos and Muslims. Muslims accounted for 35 percent of the incidents and Latinos were victims 18 percent of the time.

Most of the hate incidents occurred in public — about 33 percent of the time — with schools being second most frequent arena for racially charged conflicts at 24 percent, according to the commission.

—City News Service

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