Hate crimes in LA up 15 percent in 2016 compared to 2015, study finds

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at Cal State San Bernardino found that hate crimes increased by 15 percent in 2016 compared to 2015, based on law enforcement data.

Racially motivated hate crimes were up 18.5 percent and crimes based on sexual orientation were up by 24.5 percent. That was even significantly higher in the transgender community.

"Every day we hear more and more incidents of hate and violence against LGBT people," said Dave Garcia, with the Los Angeles LGBT Center.

Garcia said some of their locations have been vandalized with graffiti. He firmly believes there's a direct correlation between the increase in hate crimes and President Donald Trump.

"We have a president who is the biggest bully on the playground and he is targeting the most vulnerable amongst us, whether that's the transgender community, or the Jewish community, or the Muslim community, or the poor community," he said.

Los Angeles ranked third highest in the nation with the total number of hate crimes at 230, which is the most the city has had since 2008. Boston had 275 and New York City had the most with 380.

Brian Levin, from the Cal State San Bernardino, said Los Angeles saw a 29 percent increase within the last quarter of 2016, which includes the months before and after the election.

"There seems to be a correlation, for good or not, with respect to the statements of political leaders. After President Bush made a statement of tolerance six days after 9/11, hate crimes dropped precipitously. But in late 2015, after candidate Trump proposed his Muslim ban, hate crimes went up precipitously," he said.

Based on the data, the study found crimes against Muslims and Jews in Los Angeles went down to 42 last year compared to 55 in 2015.
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