Los Angeles, December 16, 2004….The Hate Crimes Report released by the Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations today shows that, while hate crimes are down from their post-9/11/2001 highs, Jews continue to be the most frequently targeted religious group, now accounting for 84% of religious-based hate crimes.
"The Los Angeles County report is consistent with state and federal reports that show an overall reduction in hate crimes," said Amanda Susskind, Director, Pacific Southwest Region of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). "We are heartened to see a decline in sexual orientation-based hate crimes, but remain concerned about the disproportionate number of these hate crimes and the fact that so many of them tend to be violent."
"We are also concerned that hate crimes against African-Americans continue to account for a majority of racial hate crimes. We commend the L.A. County Commission on Human Relations for keeping these statistics in the public eye and working with ethnic, racial and religious groups to continue to combat hatred and bigotry of all kinds."
The ADL noted the following statistics:
- Although hate crimes are down by 14% in the County Commission report, anti-Semitic incidents remain at a consistent and disturbing level. ADL's 2003 Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents documents a stable level of reported anti-Jewish incidents (which include non-criminal acts). Nationally, the numbers of anti-Semitic incidents reported in 2003 were 1557, compared with 1559 incidents reported in 2002. The decrease to 180 anti-Semitic incidents in California (from 223 in 2002) was attributed to the unusually high number of incidents reported in 2002, particularly in the San Francisco Bay Area.
- While the County figures indicate a 13% decrease (from 119 to 104) in the number of religion-motivated hate crimes, anti-Jewish hate crimes increased slightly from 78 to 79 and constituted 84% of religious-based crimes, up from 67% the previous year.
- The California Attorney General's report on hate crimes, issued July 9, 2004, showed a slight decrease in the number of Jewish hate crimes -- from 175 in 2002 to 155 in 2003 – but still accounted for 70% of all religious-based hate crimes.
- National hate crime statistics released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation for 2003 documented more than 1,300 religion-based crimes – more than 69% directed against Jews and Jewish institutions.
"Behind each of these statistics is an individual or community targeted for violence for no other reason than race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or ethnicity," remarked Susskind.
"We remain vigilant and concerned, especially in light of world events and the rise in global anti-Semitism."
Susskind emphasized that the ADL will continue to work to counteract and prevent root causes of hate crimes. "By teaching anti-bias training starting in preschool and continuing through high school, college and the workplace and partnering with law enforcement and public officials on hate crime prevention and response, it is our hope that hate crimes will continue to decline," said Susskind. "No other organization is so closely associated with the fight against hate crimes or increasing public awareness of hate and bigotry of all kinds."