LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Anti-Semitic acts of vandalism and other related incidents are on the rise in Southern California even as incidents statewide have declined, according to an audit released Monday.
The annual “Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents” (PDF) from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) reported California fell from first to second in the nation behind New York in the number of anti-Semitic incidents for the first time in three years with 185 reported incidents in 2012.
The report also found the total number of anti-Semitic incidents in the United States fell by 14 percent in 2012, continuing a three-year trend of incremental declines, according to the ADL.
During the same period, however, the audit found anti-Semitic vandalism in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino and Kern counties rose by 12 percent, mirroring a nationwide spike of over 33 percent from 330 incidents reported in 2011 to 440 in 2012.
While the majority of those incidents took place on public property or at individual homes, Jewish institutions were targeted in 13 percent of the total vandalism incidents. Many of those incidents included swastikas, a hate symbol that evokes a particularly emotional response in the Jewish community, according to ADL.
One highly publicized anti-Jewish vandalism crime took place last April when a Northridge mother drove her 14-year-old daughter and two other girls to local homes — including one belonging to a Holocaust survivor’s family — where they smeared feces, scrawled swastikas and wrote the word “Jew” on a sidewalk.
The incident was among several targeting Jewish people, homes, and institutions, which a 2011 Hate Crime Report released in 2012 by the Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations found were targeted in 77 percent of religiously-motivated crimes.
“We are pleased to see a decline in anti-Semitic incidents around the country and happy to relinquish California’s standing as the State with the most overall incidents,” ADL Pacific Southwest Regional Director Amanda Susskind said. “Still, as we track crimes and incidents, including assaults, vandalism and harassment, we are troubled by the increasingly insurmountable challenge of monitoring cyberspace, where hate can be anonymous and ubiquitous.”