Hate crimes reported in Los Angeles County fell to the lowest level in 21 years, fueled by major drops in vandalism and in gang-related crimes, particularly those by Latino gangs targeting African Americans, which had made up a large number of the most violent hate crimes.
The Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations’ annual report for 2010 documents a third consecutive year in which hate crimes declined across the county. The total fell from 593 hate crimes in 2009 to 427, the lowest number since 1989.
The drop contrasted with hate crimes statewide, whose numbers remained largely unchanged in 2010 from the year before, the report noted.
A 42% decrease in anti-black hate crimes–from 211 reported crimes in 2009 to 123 in 2010–was “a major factor” in the decline, said Robin Toma, the commission’s director.
One reason for the decline is a decrease in gang-involved hate crime, Toma said. In the past, Latino gangs have been major sources of anti-black hate crime, according to the commission.
And gang-related crimes–particularly between Latinos and African Americans–were a significant part of violent hate crimes. Hate crimes in which gang members were suspects dropped from 80 in 2009 to 40 last year, although two-thirds of the crimes were violent assaults, according to the report.