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Hate crimes in L.A. County drop slightly

November 19, 2009 12:06:54 AM PST
The number of hate crimes committed in Los Angeles County dropped slightly last year, according to a report released Thursday by the Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations.According to the report, the number of crimes motivated by race, ethnicity or national origin was down 16 percent from 2007.

Crimes motivated by sexual orientation and religion did increase, but overall hate crimes were down four percent from the year before. That was consistent with a general decrease in crime countywide.

The report noted that the San Fernando Valley had the highest rate of hate crimes, at 11.8 per 100,000 residents. The east side of the county had the lowest number of hate crimes and the lowest per capita rate, at 2.2 per 100,000 residents.

The report said hate crimes occurred most frequently at residences, followed by public places, businesses, schools and religious sites.

The state of California defines a hate crime as one where evidence shows "bias, hatred or prejudice based on the victim's real or perceived race/ethnicity, religion, ancestry, national origin, disability, gender or sexual orientation."

City News Service contributed to this report.