With crime down in Los Angeles for the first time in five years, a continuous rise in hate crimes stands out. There were 286 hate crimes reported in Los Angeles in 2018, the city’s highest number in recent years.
The Los Angeles Police Department defines hate crime as “any criminal act or attempted criminal act directed against a person or persons based on the victim’s actual or perceived race, nationality, religion, sexual orientation, disability or gender.”
Hate crimes have been rising in Los Angeles since 2014. A large proportion of these crimes have also been violent, such as assaults and robberies.
Last year was no exception, with 126 hate-related assaults and batteries, taking up almost half of the total count.
Meanwhile, vandalism remained the most frequent non-violent hate crime, with a count of 70.
While vandalism belongs to the non-violent crime category, the individual cases can involve danger and violence with varying degrees of severity. For example, on May 8, a suspect vandalized a 37-year-old Hispanic woman’s car in the South Park neighborhood by painting it with graffiti and setting it on fire, while also using hate-related language.
For neighborhoods, Downtown had the highest number of reported hate crimes in both 2017 and 2018, with 32 and 30, respectively. Hollywood followed with 14 in 2017 and 12 in 2018. These two neighborhoods also had the highest and third-highest overall crime rates, respectively, in Los Angeles last year.
According to LAPD data from 2010, African-Americans and Hispanic people have been the most frequently targeted groups for hate crimes. Males have been targeted more than females, the data show.
A rise in hate crimes is not Los Angeles’s problem alone. Last year in New York, hate crimes rose 5%, with larger increases in attacks against black and Jewish people. And a 2017 study recorded the highest number of total hate crimes in the 10 largest cities in more than a decade.
We will continue to monitor hate crimes in Los Angeles in 2019 by releasing alerts on our website, xtown.la, every time there is a new report.
How we did it: We examined LAPD publicly available data on reports of hate crimes for the past nine years. For neighborhood boundaries, we rely on the borders defined by the Los Angeles Times. Learn more about our data here.
LAPD data only reflects crimes that are reported to the department, not how many crimes actually occurred. In making our calculations, we rely on the data the LAPD makes publicly available. On occasion, LAPD may update past crime reports with new information, or recategorize past reports. Those revised reports do not always automatically become part of the public database.
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