Hate crimes in Los Angeles hit a record high in April with 62 reported incidents—the most bias-related criminal acts in a single month since the Los Angeles Police Department starting making the statistics public in 2010.
According to a report by Crosstown based on LAPD data, April’s numbers surpassed the previous record of 51 hate crimes reported in August 2020.
LAPD hate crimes coordinator Detective Orlando Martinez noted that the increase reflects a change in how the department classifies hate crimes. Under the new policy, any instance of bias motivation is categorized as a hate crime so victims can receive services and, potentially, compensation from the state.
“Due to these changes, crimes classified as hate crimes have substantially increased as compared to last year,” Martinez told Crosstown. “Keep in mind that residents rarely call the police to report being the victim of a hate crime or hate incident. They call the police for another crime or because they do not feel safe, and our officers end up completing a report which the Department classifies as a bias-motivated crime.”
LAPD classification methods aside, a March report by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino, shows hate crimes against Asians were up 150 percent in 2020 in the U.S., with most of those attacks occurring in New York City and Los Angeles.
Addressing the alarming national trend, particularly the growing number of violent attacks on Asian Americans throughout the pandemic, President Joe Biden on Thursday signed the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act into law, which was passed with overwhelming support by both chambers of Congress Tuesday.
In Los Angeles, Crosstown found that bias crimes against Asians from January 1 through April 30 rose 41 percent this year, from 12 to 17, over the same period in 2020.
“My message to all of those who are hurting is: We see you and the Congress has said, we see you,” President Biden said Thursday. “And we are committed to stop the hatred and the bias.”
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