STUDIO CITY (CBSLA) — From racist graffiti to assaults, incidents of hate- and race-related crimes and incidents are on the rise in Orange County, continuing an upward trend seen in the last three years.
According to a report from the Orange County Human Relations Commission released Tuesday, there were 56 reported hate crimes in 2017, up from 50 in 2016 and 44 in 2015.
“Hate incidents,” racially-motivated acts which don’t rise to the level of a crimes, increased to 94 last year, up from 72 and 43 in the two previous years.
The most common hate crime was vandalism at 34 percent, with simple assault second at 13 percent.
The group most targeted with hate crimes was Muslims at 13 percent. Muslims and people of Middle Eastern descent combined attributed for 16 percent of the victims of hate crimes. They were followed by people of Jewish descent at 9 percent.
“We really wanna make sure that the report is as accurate as possible, and that’s why we keep asking people to make sure that you document hate crime and hate incidents with us,” said Alison Edwards, the commission’s CEO.
However there is a downward trend for crimes against other groups.
Crimes against black people fell from seven in 2016 to four this year. Crimes against members of the LGBTQ community fell to two from five in 2016 and 11 in 2015. Latinos and Asians both saw a decrease to three in 2017 from four in 2016. There was one crime each reported for Native Americans and white people last year.
According to a report out earlier this year from Cal State San Bernardino, which analyzed police statistics from the 10 largest cities in the U.S., including Los Angeles and San Diego, hate crimes increased 12.5 percent in 2017, continuing a similar upward trend for a fourth year. Researchers concluded it was the highest total for those cities in over a decade.
Supervisor for Orange County’s 3rd District Todd Spitzer, who is running for district attorney against incumbent Tony Rackauckas, blamed “lax prosecution methods” for the rise in hate crimes. The Rackauckas campaign said the D.A. “vigorously prosecutes all crimes, including hate crime.”
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)