Report: Black Californians Remain Top Hate Crime Victims; Prosecutions Climb

Report: Black Californians Remain Top Hate Crime Victims; Prosecutions Climb

WRITTEN BY EDWARD HENDERSON | CALIFORNIA BLACK MEDIA

(CBM) – California Attorney General Rob Bonta released the 2023 Hate Crime in California Report on June 29, providing data and resources to support ongoing efforts across the state to combat violence motivated by racial or other biases. 

Overall, reported hate crime events in California decreased by 7.1% from 2,120 in 2022 to 1,970 in 2023.

Despite that general downward trend, anti-Black bias incidents in the state remained the most prevalent. Year after year, this disturbing statistic holds true despite a 20.6% decrease from 652 in 2022 to 518 in 2023. The next highest reporting of bias events was 199 Anti-Hispanic or Latino instances.

“The California Department of Justice has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to hate, and will continue working with law enforcement, elected leaders, and community organizations across the state to keep our communities safe through education, prevention, and enforcement,” said Attorney General Robert Bonta in a statement after releasing the report.

“We won’t let bigots and bad actors win. We will not let hate prevail,” said Bonta

The report also found that prosecutions inched up by 5% (about 32 percentage points).

According to the Attorney General’s report, from 2022 to 2023, the number of hate crimes referred for prosecution increased from 647 in 2022 to 679 in 2023. Of the 679 hate crimes that were referred for prosecution, 463 cases were filed by district attorneys and elected city attorneys for prosecution. Of the 463 cases that were filed for prosecution, 322 were filed as hate crimes and 141 were filed as non-bias motivated crimes.

Under California law, a hate crime is a criminal act committed in whole or in part because of a victim’s actual or perceived disability, gender, nationality, race or ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or association with someone with one or more of these characteristics.

Aside from the information related to Anti-Black hate crimes, other key findings in the 2023 Hate Crime in California Report include:

  • Hate crimes fell by 7.1% to 1,970 events.
  • Hate crime offenses dropped by 8.9% to 2,359.
  • Victims of hate crimes decreased by 6.9% to 2,303.
  • Hate crimes due to racial bias went down by 21.6% to 1,017.
  • Hate crimes due to religious bias rose by 30% to 394.
  • Anti-Islamic bias events increased from 25 to 40.
  • Hate crimes due to sexual orientation bias went up by 4.1% to 405.
  • Anti-transgender bias events rose by 10.2% to 65.
  • Anti-LGBTQ+ bias events surged by 86.4%.
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The disproportionate number of hate incidents recorded in the Attorney General’s report lines up with data released by the California Civil Rights Department (CRD).

Responding to a surge in hate crimes and hate incidents, in 2023, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration launched the “California vs. Hate” initiative, which includes a hotline and online reporting platform for victims.

“CA vs Hate is about recognizing and protecting the incredible diversity of our state and sending a clear message that hate will never be tolerated,” said Newsom.

“When California was confronted by an alarming increase in hate, we didn’t just sit back and hope it got better,” said CRD Director Kevin Kish, celebrating the one-year anniversary of the initiative in May.

“We came together and launched an array of nation-leading programs to ensure all our communities feel welcome and protected. I’m incredibly proud of our state’s resilience and commitment to a California for all,” added Kish. “This work is only just beginning, but it would not be possible without the advocacy of our community partners and the foresight of our state’s Administration and Legislature.”

To combat hate crime offenses and events, Bonta urges local partners and law enforcement to review the resources highlighted in the report and to recommit themselves to leveraging them.

“Everyone has a part to play as we continue to fight prejudice and create safer communities in California,” said Bonta.

“I urge everyone to review the data and resources available and recommit to standing united against hate,” he continued. “The California Department of Justice has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to hate, and will continue working with law enforcement, elected leaders, and community organizations across the state to keep our communities safe through education, prevention, and enforcement.”

If you believe you or someone you know has been the victim of a hate crime, notify local law enforcement and consider taking the following steps:

* How To Report A Hate Crime:

CA vs Hate is a non-emergency, multilingual hate crime and incident reporting hotline and online portal. Reports can be made anonymously by calling (833) 866-4283, or 833-8-NO-HATE, Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. PT or online at any time.

Hate acts can be reported in 15 different languages through the online portal and in over 200 languages when calling the hotline. For individuals who want to report a hate crime to law enforcement immediately or who are in imminent danger, please call 911. 

For more information on CA vs Hate, please visit CAvsHate.org.

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