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Hate Crimes Jump 14 Percent In Orange County

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SANTA ANA (CBSLA.com) — An annual report has found that hate crimes in Orange County jumped by 14 percent in 2011 over the previous year.

In 2011, there were 64 documented hate crimes reported, up from 56 in 2010, according to the 20th annual report from OC Human Relations.

Since 2009, hate crimes have been on the decline – that year there were 77 reported hate crimes, 82 in 2008 and 101 in 2007, executive director Rusty Kennedy said.

Hate crimes involving religious bigotry were also up, according to the report. Eight of the 15 crimes involving religion targeted the Jewish community, while seven were against Muslims.

Crimes related to sexual orientation were also up from five incidents in 2010 to seven last year. Kennedy said the commission suspects hate crimes against gays, lesbians and transgender people are under-reported.

Kennedy says the main motivation for hate crimes involved race and ethnic background.

“African-Americans are again the most frequently targeted,” Kennedy said. “They represent 19 of the (hate crime incidents).”

Only two percent of Orange County residents are black, but were targets of hate crimes 30 percent of the time last year, according to the report. Black residents have been victims most frequently of hate crimes going back to 2003, Kennedy said.

Just last week, vandals painted a Nazi swastika on the porch of a black family in Ladera Ranch, Kennedy said.

There were seven incidents involving Latinos, but the commission believes Latinos are reluctant to report hate crimes to authorities, Kennedy said.

(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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