Reports of hate crimes in Los Angeles County continued to rise in 2017 contributing to a 32 percent rise over the past 4 years, according to a government report released on Thursday.
Last year there were 508 hate crimes reported, with the highest rate of them occurring in the Metro region stretching from West Hollywood to Boyle Heights, the L.A. County Human Relations Commission said in a press release.
Half of hate crimes, 256 reports, were racially-motivated.
Latinos were most likely of any racial group to be victims of violent hate crimes, where 40 percent of suspects used anti-immigrant slurs.
However, African Americans made up 50 percent of the hate crime victims in total, even though they compromise 9 percent of L.A. County residents.
For example, on March 17, an African-American teacher’s classroom in Topanga Canyon was “defaced with anti-black slurs,” the report states.
Religious hate crimes, 72 percent of which were anti-Jewish, were at the same number as in 2016.
Crimes that targeted lesbians, gay men and LGBT organizations declined by 2 percent, but are more frequently of violent nature compared to race or religion.
One hundred percent of crimes against lesbians were violent.
On Oct. 3, a Latina lesbian was being affectionate with her girlfriend in front of a bowling alley in Koreatown when a Latino male asked her for a cigarette. According to the report, he then got aggressive and told her, “You ruined this neighborhood. Why are you here?”
The man and four of his friends punched her and knocked her to the ground. The suspect then “climbed on top of her and repeatedly punched her in the face,” officials said.
The suspect and his friends fled and the victim went into epileptic seizure.
Still, the overall rate of violence declined by 5 percent, but aggravated assaults rose to 47 percent.
Suspects who referenced President Donald Trump’s name made up nine of the crimes reported.
Of the 508 hate crimes reported, investigators filed 128 of them with prosecutors at the L.A. County District Attorney’s Office and the L.A. City Attorney’s Office.
According to the report, a charge is considered a hate crime when there is evidence that the victim was targeted based on their “race/ethnicity, religion, ancestry, national origin, disability, gender or sexual orientation.”
Board of Supervisors Chair Sheila Kuehl said, “Putting an end to hate crimes is a top priority for the County of Los Angeles.”
“We live in one of the most culturally diverse places in the world with more than 200 languages and cultures enriching the region. Hate violence, white nationalism, misogyny, and all forms of intolerance are not welcome here.”