California AG releases new data on surging hate crimes

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Posted at 11:28 AM, Jun 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-30 17:26:55-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- The latest data shows there was a 31% increase in hate crimes in the state of California from 2019 to 2020.

“For too many, 2020 wasn’t just about a deadly virus, it was about an epidemic of hate,” said Attorney General Rob Bonta. “All across the country we saw the news come in, and now with this latest data we have another piece of the puzzle to help fill in the gaps. The facts here are clear: There was a surge in anti-Asian violence correlated with the words of leaders who sought to divide us when we were at our most vulnerable. But one of our most powerful weapons against hate is knowledge. When we’re armed with the facts, we put ourselves in a position to be our own best advocates; we put ourselves in a position to be able to fight for what is right. Ultimately, it’s going to take building bridges to help make a difference."

The report stated:

  • Overall, hate crime events increased 31% from 1,015 in 2019 to 1,330 in 2020;
  • Anti-Black bias events were the most prevalent, increasing 87% from 243 in 2019 to 456 in 2020;
  • Anti-white bias events also increased from 39 in 2019 to 82 in 2020;
  • Anti-Asian hate crime events increased by 107% from 43 in 2019 to 89 in 2020. The highest number of events were reported in March and April, during the height of pandemic-fueled, trumped-up rhetoric.
  • Hate crime events motivated by religion decreased 13.5%, with anti-Jewish events falling 18.4% from 141 in 2019 to 115 in 2020;
  • Hate crime events involving sexual orientation also fell 12% from 233 in 2019 to 205 in 2020; and
  • Of the 108 cases filed for prosecution with a disposition available for this report, 42.6% were hate crime convictions, 45.4% were other convictions, and 12% did not result in any conviction.

Attorney General Bonta said the increase in anti-Asian crimes started right at the beginning of the pandemic.

"Wondering if you or someone you loved would be attacked for the way you look. While the pandemic may be receding the other fear the fear that resides within the Asian American community generally," Bonta said.

Police in the Bay Area have been investigating situations such as an incident where two Asian women ages 65 and 85 were stabbed at a bus stop by a man clutching a knife, who was then seen walking away.

The AG said he’s encouraging law enforcement to build relationships within the community to prevent these crimes as the majority of them aren’t initially reported. He’s also making sure information and material are printed in different languages so people know how to identify the crime, report it, and know where to get help.

Bonta says he’d also like to see emphasis placed on restorative justice and alternative sentencing when it comes to the prosecution of hate crimes.