L.A. County recorded a record number of white supremacist hate crimes and crimes against the transgender community in its 2019 Hate Crimes Report, which was published on Friday Oct. 23.

The report showed that there were 524 hate crimes recorded in 2019, which is only one crime more than those recorded in 2018, but it marks a 36 percent increase in hate crimes from 2013.

Hate crime reports have risen every year since 2013 and this year there was a 38 percent increase in white supremacist crimes compared to earlier this decade. Racially motivated crimes are the largest category of hate crimes committed in L.A. County where African-Americans make up 9 percent of the population but 47 percent of all hate crime victims.

“Black people are disproportionately represented on the low end of several indices of social and economic well-being, including homelessness, COVID-19 fatalities, and joblessness. Sadly, racially motivated attacks are no different,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. “For those who believe that racism is no longer a problem, I invite you to review the examples this report provides of these vile and cowardly crimes, more than 70% of which were classified as violent in nature.”

The 2019 report also marked the largest number ever reported of anti-transgender crimes, which rose from 25 in 2018 to 41 in 2019. Ninety-two percent of transgender hate crimes involved violence, which is the highest rate for any victim group.

“I am deeply saddened by this year’s report, including recording the largest number of anti-transgender hate crimes ever, and I am hopeful that new national leadership will put this nation back on track to recognizing every person’s fundamental human rights,” said Supervisor Sheila Kuehl.

In response to the rise in hate seen over the previous six years the L.A. County Human Relations Commission launched the “L.A. vs. Hate” initiative in Aug., which is designed to prevent and respond to hate incidents. This campaign created the first government hotline (via 211) for reporting acts of hate and directing assistance to victims.

“While the L.A. vs. Hate Campaign we launched in August has increased awareness around the importance of reporting hate and helped connect hate victims with supportive services, we have a lot more work to do make sure all of our residents know that the County is taking action to protect them from this growing threat – especially in light of the coronavirus pandemic. Hate has no place in LA County. If you witness a hate crime, report it by calling 2-1-1 right away,” said Supervisor Janice Hahn.

The L.A. vs. Hate campaign also established a network of community agencies that work to prevent instances of hate crime and provide rapid response to victims. This has been accompanied by a robust marketing campaign driven by community leaders and activists that encourage residents to unite against hate.

Since its June 2020 launch “L.A. vs. Hate” content has been shared to a social media audience of over 7 million. This has helped publicize the hotline which went from receiving 60 calls in June to 118 in Sept.

“I’m proud that the County launched the innovative LA vs. Hate campaign to urge residents to stand against hate. But this year’s hate crimes report show that we have more to do,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis. “While the annual hate crimes reported remain steady this year, this number is still too high. Marginalized communities continue to be targeted and discriminated against. LA County must continue to combat racism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, and white supremacy.”

Clara@smdp.com