LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – City Councilwoman Nithya Raman introduced a motion Wednesday aimed at improving the city’s systems for people who need to report hate crimes, citing  the disparity between the number between the number of these incidents reported to law enforcement and the number reported to the nonprofit Stop AAPI Hate.

Los Angeles, CA – Councilmember Nithya Raman  (Photo by Hans Gutknecht/MediaNews Group/Los Angeles Daily News via Getty Images)

“Since 2016, we’ve seen an unprecedented rise in hateful incidents and rhetoric in Los Angeles, including a 114% increase in reported hate crimes against the Asian American and Pacific Islander community in 2020 alone,” Raman said. “While the city has made great strides in increasing access for city residents to report hate incidents, shortfalls remain in how we take
reports and collect data. If we intend to develop meaningful and proactive mitigation strategies, it is critical that we have access to this information.”

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The number of reported violent crimes against Asian Americans doubled nationally between 2015 and 2018. The Los Angeles Police Department also reported an increase in these crimes in 2020, when 15 hate crimes were reported against the Asian American Pacific Islander community compared to seven in 2019.

The total number of hate incidents in 2020 was 24.

According to Raman’s motion, the number of reports is likely an undercount of the total number of hate crimes and hate incidents that occurred, since the organization Stop AAPI Hate 245 such incidents in LA County in just seven months of 2020, from March 19 to Oct. 28.

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“These gaps may be due in part to a fear of reporting to law enforcement, a lack of awareness of the rights and resources afforded to victims, as well as barriers to access official reporting sources,” the motion stated. “Historically, the only direct reporting mechanism for hate crimes and hate incidents at the city of Los Angeles has been through the Los Angeles Police Department.”

If passed, the motion would instruct the Civil + Human Rights and Equity Department and the Information Technology Agency, with support from LAPD, to report to the City Council within 60 days on how to:

— improve access for reporting hate incidents through technology, such as through a dedicated mobile app or the My311LA app;
— enhance the data capture through 311 to streamline the reporting of hate incidents and referral to relevant services;
— create a data analysis tool for hate-related data accessed by the Civil + Human Rights and Equity Department; and
— integrate various reporting entry points into one unified system.

The departments would also report on what resources are needed to implement the improvements.

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