The California Attorney General’s Office announced a spike in hate crimes, the highest since the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks, according to NBC affiliate KCRA. The crimes against Black people were the most prevalent and following were crimes against LGBT individuals and Asian Americans. Attorney General Rob Bonta said the pandemic gave way to an “epidemic of hate.”
In 2021, Anti-Black hate crimes rose by 12 percent with 513 incidents reported and anti-LGBT crimes saw a 48 percent spike with 303 reported incidents. Anti-Asian crimes by 177 percent with 247 incidents reported and anti-Latinx crimes saw a 29 percent increase with 100 incidents reported.
In total, the state saw a 32 percent increase in identity-targeted crimes since 2020.
More of Bonta’s remarks from KRCA:
“Today’s report undeniably shows that the epidemic of hate we saw spurred on during the pandemic remains a clear and present threat,” Bonta said in a statement. “While there is no single solution, it’s up to all of us to heed the call, because when our communities feel empowered, they come forward.”
Last year’s annual report showed a similarly high increase — 31% — with anti-Black bias making up the bulk of incidents in a state where African Americans are 6% of the population. The 2020 report also showed a startling increase in bias crimes against Asian Americans following the emergence of the coronavirus in China.
In San Francisco, the 2021 death of an 84-year-old Thai grandfather is headed to trial although the district attorney’s office has not filed hate crime charges in that case.
Bonta said the findings are an estimate being that some victims don’t always report an incident. The FBI reported hate crimes were at a record high by 2020 nationally, according to AP News. California is only one example. Imagine the numbers for any other state.
California prosecutors and district attorneys have been filing hate crime charges as the incidents are being reported, per the DOJ’s report. Bonta said a new hate crimes coordinator will be appointed to their Criminal Law Division to investigate the crimes as well as civil rights issues.
“This report affirms what we’ve been hearing on the ground. The pandemic gave way to an epidemic of hate. We saw the bigoted words of our former president turn a trickle of hate into a flood that remains with us,” said Bonta.