Aug 31, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Anti-Latino hate crime grew in 2022, study shows

People view a temporary memorial in Ponder Park honoring victims of the Walmart shooting which left 23 people dead in a racist attack targeting Latinos on August 2, 2020 in El Paso, Texas.

An El Paso, Texas, makeshift memorial for the 23 victims of the Aug. 3, 2019, Walmart shooting, a hate crime against Latinos. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Hate crimes against Latinos rose again last year, while some of the biggest U.S. cities with large Hispanic populations saw record numbers of such crimes, a new report says.

The big picture: In recent years, anti-Latino hate crimes have steadily risen — and new data suggest the trend is continuing, although at a significantly slower rate.

By the numbers: Anti-Latino hate crimes increased by 2.8% from 2021 to 2022, according to the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino. They spiked by 41% from 2020 to 2021, according to the center.

  • The unpublished study shared with Axios reports that Los Angeles in 2022 had 88 hate crimes against Latinos, which was the most of any of the big cities.
  • Phoenix had 15, followed by Chicago with 12.
  • Increases in anti-Latino crimes were most frequent in Midwestern or Eastern cities, with declines in the Southwest.

Yes, but: The number of hate crimes against Latinos could be higher because police departments don't uniformly track their racial and ethnic information, which can skew data. Plus, studies have shown that some Latinos are less likely to report crimes because of a distrust in law enforcement or concerns about immigration status.

Between the lines: Hate crimes against Latinos have at times spiked over the last decade around national news stories involving Hispanics, such as when there was wide coverage of the immigrant caravans traveling north from Central America, Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, tells Axios Latino.

But, but, but: In general, Phoenix, San Diego and San Antonio, cities with large Mexican American and Central American populations, experienced big declines in hate crimes last year, while other cities with similar demographics saw big spikes.

  • There were 609 total hate crimes reported in Los Angeles last year — the most of any other city and a record for Los Angeles since the FBI and other organizations started monitoring hate crimes.
  • New York, the nation's largest city, saw 607 hate crimes, which was also a record, according to numbers tallied by the center.
  • Chicago saw the most significant percentage increase — 84.6% — followed by Austin, 58.6%.
  • Black Americans were the most frequently targeted group in Los Angeles, Chicago and other cities, but members of LGBTQ+ and Jewish communities experienced the biggest overall jump in reported hate crimes, according to the study.

What to watch: Early data shows that hate crimes are falling in major cities in the first part of 2023 so far.

  • But they tend to pick up at the end of the year around religious holidays, particularly around Hanukkah, and during the months before presidential elections, when candidates' rhetoric tends to heat up, Levin says.

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