Los Angeles, CA—Hate crimes in Los Angeles County increased in 2018, reaching their highest level in nearly a decade, according to an annual report by the County’s Commission on Human Relations. With 521 cases, LA County has seen five consecutive years of rising acts of hate reported against African Americans, the LGBTQ+ community, Jews, and Latinos. In response, today the Board of Supervisors approved a motion authored by Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis and Supervisor Janice Hahn that directs the launch LA County’s first anti-hate initiative to strengthen support for victims of hate crimes.
“Hate crimes are on the rise across the country and right here in LA County,” said Chair of the Board of Supervisors Janice Hahn. “Just this week, as our Jewish residents celebrate Rosh Hashana, the LAPD is circulating surveillance video of a masked man spray painting swastikas across businesses and homes in San Pedro. We will not stay silent as hate infects our neighborhoods. All of our residents need to know they are valued, that they belong, and that the County is taking action to protect them and respond to this growing threat.”
“Violence is not an option, and all hate crimes must be unequivocally condemned,” said Supervisor Solis. “We must come together in solidarity to combat racism and bigotry head-on. As part of this ongoing effort, we must initiate honest conversations and build bridges of mutual understanding and respect to tear down walls of fear and division. Every LA County resident has a right to live free of prejudice, discrimination, harassment, and violence. By approving our first Countywide Anti-Hate Initiative, LA County has taken an unwavering stand against bigotry and violence. This innovative initiative will facilitate the way residents report hate crimes, and it will expedite the County’s response so we could swiftly support victims and ensure that justice is served against those who seek to divide us.”
This local upswing in hate crimes mirrors a national trend of rising hate crimes and hate driven violence that include an August mass shooting in El Paso, Texas in which a lone gunman killed 22 people and injured 24 others after posting an anti-immigrant manifesto online. Mass shootings this summer in Gilroy, California and Dayton, Ohio also share similar themes of hate and violence.
Locally, LAPD have released to the public footage of a masked individual painting swastikas on homes and businesses in San Pedro. In August, transgender Latinx women and gay men of color were forcibly thrown out of a downtown Los Angeles bar after being subjected to transphobic slurs. This Aug. 23 incident is being investigated by local authorities as a potential hate crime.
Today’s motion builds upon a July 2018 motion to coordinate and strengthen the County’s response to acts of hate. This Board motion authorizes the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), along with Workforce Development, Aging and Community Services (WDACS) and the County’s Commission on Human Relations (LACCHR) to hire consultants, as needed, to assist in the launch of the Countywide campaign of the Anti-Hate Initiative. The motion also directs WDACS and LACCHR to report back in 120 days on the status of developing and launching this outreach campaign.
Today’s motion also directs the Countywide Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee (CCJCC), with WDACS/LACCHR and the CEO, to work with the County’s Sheriff’s Department, and local criminal justice agencies to shore up on best practices when responding to incidents of hate crimes, and to report back in 180 days on updated strategies for preventing and investigating hate crimes. As part of this, local law enforcement agencies will continue to strengthen ties with communities targeted for hate crimes in order to build trust and open lines of communication. The Board motion also directs the CEO and the County’s legislative advocates in Sacramento to support legislation that would strengthen law enforcement training, reporting, and prosecution of hate crimes.