Reports of hate in Orange County rose again in 2021 but at a slower pace than past years

A group holds a large banner as an airplane skywrites "No Hate."
There were 398 hate crimes and incidents reported in Orange County in 2021, according to the Human Relations Commission. Above, a group in April 2021 holds a large banner as an airplane skywrites “No Hate” at the end of a news conference in Huntington Beach.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

Reported hate crimes and incidents in Orange County rose for the seventh year in a row but at a slower pace than in the recent past, officials with the O.C. Human Relations Commission said this week.

There were 398 reports of hate crimes and incidents in Orange County in 2021, the commission said Wednesday in a statement issued ahead of the Sept. 15 release of its full report. That’s a 6% increase over the 375 such reported crimes that law enforcement, educational institutions and community organizations were notified of in 2020.

For the record:

4:45 p.m. Sept. 12, 2022This story has been updated to accurately reflect Supervisor Dough Chaffee’s title.

“The continued rise in hate activity across the nation shows we can do more to create an all-inclusive environment, which is why my fellow Board members and I strongly support expanding the County’s anti-hate efforts,” Orange County Board of Supervisor Chairman Doug Chaffee wrote in the statement.

The report distinguishes between hate crimes and hate incidents, the latter of which are instances in which a person’s actions or statements are motivated by bias toward someone’s race, religion, gender or sexual orientation but do not rise to the level of legal wrongdoing.


Last year was the seventh in a row that the commission documented an increase in reports of hate in the county. The commission logged 87 bias-motivated crimes and incidents in 2015.

Prior to that year, the number of reports had been on the decline for about a decade. During that period, Black Americans were the most targeted group.

The county saw a 35% spike in hate crimes and incidents in 2020, the report said, marking the largest increase in recent years. Antisemitism was the most frequently reported motive in those cases.

The commission also recorded a 40% increase in reported hate crimes and an 1,800% rise in hate incidents against Asian Americans in 2020. That year’s report came in the wake of the emergence of COVID-19 from China, prompting the reported scapegoating of people of Asian and Pacific Islander descent.

The Orange County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a $1-million proposal submitted by the commission to bolster efforts to combat hate, according to the commission’s statement. Some of those include multilingual awareness campaigns, expanded services to victims of hate and improvements in methods to report bias-motivated events.

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