Hate crimes in Los Angeles hit record in 2023, rising 17%

Gaza war leads to spike in antisemitic attacks; Black Angelenos targeted more than any other group
Hate Crime

Silhouette with pink streak across eyes to illustrate hate crimes


Hate crimes in the city of Los Angeles rose 17% last year, shattering previous highs.


The 838 reports, propelled partly by polarization and tensions over the Israel-Hamas war, were more than double the number of crimes documented in 2020. This marks the 10th consecutive year of rising hate crime reports, according to publicly available data from the Los Angeles Police Department


Bar chart of annual hate crime reports in the city of Los Angeles


LAPD Hate Crimes Coordinator Det. Orlando Martinez said there was a “humongous increase” in hate crime reports after the Oct. 7 attack in Israel. That month, the city tabulated 41 anti-Jewish, 11 anti-Arab and three anti-Muslim crimes. 


All told, there were 108 hate crime reports in October, far more than any other month this decade.


Line chart of monthly hate crimes in the city of Los Angeles from 2021 through Feb. 2024


In 2023, the LAPD recorded 165 anti-Jewish crimes, a more than 50% increase from the previous year. Encino and Pico-Robertson each tabulated 12 anti-Jewish crimes, the highest totals of any neighborhood. 


In November, the Fairfax area Jewish deli Canter’s was hit with antisemitic graffiti. On Feb. 18, a 44-year-old man in Woodland Hills suffered a battery reportedly motivated by anti-Jewish hate. 


Jeffrey Abrams, the Los Angeles regional director for the Anti-Defamation League, an organization focused on addressing antisemitism, said the spike in incidents has raised  anxiety among Jewish Angelenos.


“The Jewish community has a reason to be fearful because we’re being attacked,” Abrams said.



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Anti-Arab hate crimes surged from five to 17 reports in 2023, with 13 of those occurring after Oct. 7. There were eight anti-Islam crimes, up from six in 2022.


The city’s numbers reflect a nationwide trend. Preliminary data compiled by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino, found a nearly 13% increase in hate crimes in 2023 from the previous year in the nation’s 10 largest cities. The report said it was driven partly by the conflict in the Middle East.


Hate crimes are widely assumed to be under-reported, with a belief that members of some communities do not contact law enforcement because they worry that their calls will not be investigated or taken seriously. 


Preponderance of anti-Black crimes

A hate crime is defined as any crime against a person or property motivated by bias based on race, gender identity, ethnicity, disability or other protected classes. It is different from a hate incident, which generally involves racially motivated abuse, including hate speech. These are protected by free speech laws but are still tracked by the LAPD. 


In Los Angeles, there were approximately 650 hate incidents last year, according to police data. The number was under 500 the year before.


Hate crimes in the wake of the Oct. 7 attacks drew the most attention in Los Angeles, but throughout the year, Black Angelenos suffered the highest number of bias-motivated crimes. According to police data, there were 229 anti-Black crimes in the city in 2023. That accounts for 27% of all reports, even though just 8.6% of the city’s population is Black. 



As in past years, men were targeted far more often than women. According to police data, men were the victims of 447 hate crimes in 2023, while women were the victims on 248 occasions.


Another unsettling trend is an increase in anti-transgender crimes, which rose 22% last year to 44 reports. One incident from September involved a 42-year-old transgender individual who reported an assault with a deadly weapon against them in Downtown


Rising reports of crimes against transgender and gender non-conforming people were cited as a concern in a November 2023 report by the Human Rights Campaign, a national LGBTQ+ advocacy group.


With a recent spike in anti-LGBTQ+ hate crimes across the country—including the death of non-binary 16-year-old Nex Benedict at an Oklahoma high school the day after a fight with a group of girls in a bathroom—Martinez encourages Angelenos to report all incidents.


“When instances happen across the country or across the world, it makes those vulnerable populations more aware, and it makes them more likely to report things that are happening to them that are similar,” Martinez said. “We want to encourage people to report, even though other states, other departments treat things differently.”


According to police data, 214 hate crime reports last year involved battery. There were 159 vandalism reports, and 136 cases designated as aggravated assault or assault with a deadly weapon. 


Table of most frequent type of crime with a hate crime


Pushing people to speak up

In recent years, the LAPD has made an effort to boost the reporting of hate crimes and hate incidents by enhancing communication with various communities. In addition to political tensions, Martinez said record numbers are being driven by the LAPD’s “improving relationship with the community, our outreach, our letting people know what their rights are and how to go about reporting instances of hate.”


An effort that could drive up the number of reports occurred this year. On Jan. 11, the LAPD opened a long-in-the-works program that allows people to make hate incident reports online instead of requiring the department to send an officer to the scene. This is how, since 2016, Angelenos have been able to report traffic collisions and other non-emergency incidents.


The work extends beyond law enforcement. Joumana Silyan-Saba, director of policy and discrimination enforcement at the Los Angeles Civil Rights and Equity Department, said the department’s LA for All anti-hate campaign has worked to lower barriers to reporting and tackle community mistrust of law enforcement and county agencies. 


“We understand that there are barriers to hate reporting and some of those barriers are rooted in some of the mistrust when it comes to reporting the hate crimes and hate incidents to law enforcement,” Silyan-Saba said. 


Hate crimes in the early part of this year are down from the highs of last fall, with 58 reports in January and 52 in February, according to police data.


Past trends suggest the city’s rising hate crime reports likely won’t dampen this year. As an election year, 2024 will likely continue to see spikes in bias-motivated crimes amid political tensions, Martinez said. 


How we did it: We examined publicly available crime data from the Los Angeles Police Department from Jan. 1, 2019–Feb. 29, 2024. We also examined LAPD Hate Crimes and Hate Incidents reports. 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. 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.


Have questions about our data or want to know more? Write to us at askus@xtown.la.