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Hate crimes rise in California, state report says

Tom Garing cleans up racist graffiti painted on the side of a mosque in Roseville, Calif., on Feb. 1, 2017. Police can't say if that attack was linked to the one in Davis. (Associated Press)
Tom Garing cleans up racist graffiti painted on the side of a mosque in Roseville, Calif., on Feb. 1, 2017. Police can't say if that attack was linked to the one in Davis. (Associated Press)

California is seeing an increase in hate crimes.

There were 931 incidents in 2016, an 11.2% spike over 2015, the state Department of Justice reported Monday.

More than half of those involved bias based on race, ethnicity or national origin. The second-most-common incidents were based on sexual orientation.

Race-based hate crimes jumped 21.3%, the report said.

Los Angeles County, the most populous county in the state, saw the most hate crimes: 375.

State Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra said the report is consistent with findings of an increase in national hate crimes motivated by biases against racial minorities, Muslims, people with disabilities, women, immigrants and the LGBTQ community.

“When someone commits a crime motivated by hate, it is not just an attack on one innocent person, but an attack on the entire State and our communities,” Becerra said in a statement. “We can see from today's report that words matter, and discriminatory rhetoric does not make us stronger but divides us and puts the safety of our communities at risk.”

Other findings of the report, which also looked at the 10-year trend:

  • Hate crimes with an anti-African American bias motivation continue to be the most common, accounting for 31.3% (3,262) of all hate crime events since 2007.
  • Hate crimes with a sexual-orientation bias are the second-most-common type of incident over the last 10 years, accounting for 22.2% in 2016.
  • Hate crimes with an anti-gay (male) bias increased 40.7% from 108 in 2015 to 152 in 2016.
  • Hate crimes with an anti-Jewish motivation continue to be the most common within the religion bias category, accounting for 11.1% (1,158) of events reported since 2007.  

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