Jun 28, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Hate crimes in California at highest reported level since 9/11

Photo of a masked Asian protester holding a cardboard sign that says "My race is not a virus" in English and Chinese

People demonstrate against anti-Asian violence and racism on March 27, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. Photo: Mario Tama via Getty Images

Hate crimes in California jumped almost 33% from 2020 to 2021, and are at their highest reported level since 2001, according to the state's annual report released Tuesday.

Why it matters: The number of hate crimes reported in 2021 is the sixth-highest ever recorded in the state, which saw the largest increase in hate crimes against Asian Americans.

By the numbers: Anti-Asian hate crimes surged 177% from 89 in 2020 to 247 in 2021. While in 2020 roughly 8% of race-based hate crimes targeted Asian Americans in 2021, that share increased to 21% a year later, the Los Angeles Times reports.

  • Hate crimes against Black people remain the most prevalent and saw a 12% rise from 456 in 2020 to 513 in 2021.
  • Anti-Hispanic or Latino hate crimes increased 29% from 152 in 2020 to 197 in 2021.
  • Hate crimes motivated by bias against sexual orientation spiked 47.8% from 205 in 2020 to 303 in 2021.
  • In cases involving religious bias, antisemitic hate crimes were the most prevalent and increased 32% from 115 in 2020 to 152 in 2021.

Worth noting: The California Department of Justice said hate crime data is historically underreported and that the data in its report may not adequately reflect the actual number of hate crimes in the state.

What they're saying: "Today’s report undeniably shows that the epidemic of hate we saw spurred on during the pandemic remains a clear and present threat," said Attorney General Bonta said in a statement.

  • "As our state’s top law enforcement officer, I will continue to use the full authority of my office to fight back."
  • "While there is no single solution, it’s up to all of us to heed the call, because when our communities feel empowered, they come forward. Now, more than ever, it is critical that we stand united — there is no place for hate in California," he added.

Yes, but: Some communities have expressed discontent with the way local district attorneys prosecute hate crimes. That in part drove San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin's (D) removal from office earlier this month.

Go deeper... Poll: Distrust of Asian Americans is rising

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