Reported hate crimes increased from 40 in 2014 to 44 in 2015, according to the Orange County Human Relations Commission.
The commission cited a report from the Southern Poverty Law Center that showed hate crime groups grew by about 14 percent in 2015, and memberships in the Ku Klux Klan grew by about 64 percent.
Hate crimes in the county directed at members of the LGBT community went up from eight in 2014 to 11 last year. Seven of those hate crimes targeted victims based on their sexual orientation, while four were against transgender people.
Black residents in the area were targeted in seven hates crimes last year, which is down from 11 in 2014. The stats represents a four-year downward trend from 23 in 2011. There were also seven hate crimes reported against Jewish people, only up one from six reported in 2014.
Hate crimes against Asians or Pacific Islanders remained the same in 2015 as it was in 2014, with only three incidents. Similar crimes against Latinos were down from three to two last year.
Two hate crimes were directed at Christians and Muslims, bringing the number up one from 2014.
The commission said this is the first time the LGBT community has become the biggest target of hate crimes. It also said many people never report those crimes to law enforcement.
City News Service contributed to this report. null
OC hate crimes increase against LGBT community in 2015, commission says