Black people in Los Angeles have been targeted in more hate crimes in 2021, than in years past, data released by LAPD shows. According to the department’s report, between January 1 to May 27 Black people were the victims of 59 hate crimes, marking a 90% increase from the same time period last year. The city recorded a high of 62 hate crimes carried out against various groups, a trend seen in several cities since last year.
The department defines a 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.” The report shows that Black men were the victims of hate crimes in 42 cases and Black women were victimized 15 times. The crimes took place on a public street, parking lot, or sidewalk more than half of the time, the data shows.
In addition to the reported hate crimes, reports of anti-Black racism and bias in LA rose 69% within the last year, as well, causing local activists to sound the alarm.
Of the department’s findings, Abdullah says increased reports of hate crimes in specific areas of the city, including Downtown, could be in response to ongoing protests for social justice.
“It also shows that when Black people assert our rights, we are met with immediate pushback,” Abdullah added.
Jasmyne Cannick, a journalist and political strategist, told the outlet that acknowledging hate crimes are taking place is required in order to address the issue.
“I think the first step in dealing with it is to stop acting like it’s not happening,” Cannick said, noting a 2019 report by the Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations that found Black people were the largest group victimized in hate crimes, even though they only make up 9% of the residents in LA County.
“The same report concluded that after declining for two years in a row, white supremacist crimes jumped 38%,” Cannick said. “So it’s clear that there’s a lot of anti-Black aggression happening in Los Angeles.”
The outlet noted the fact that the available data is based only on the crimes that are reported to police, making true estimates of violence potentially higher.
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