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(LOS ANGELES) – Attorney General Bill Lockyer today released the latest hate crime statistics showing the number of reported incidents in California hovering around 1,960 during the last two years, but declining 4.7 percent from four years earlier when the highest number of reported cases reached 2,054.
"While no clear trend can be discerned from these hate crime numbers, there is one encouraging development – an increase in the number of law enforcement agencies reporting hate crimes," Lockyer said. "In 2000, there were 252 law enforcement agencies reporting hates crimes which is up from 244 a year earlier and 239 in 1998. But, as anyone working on the issue of hate crime reporting knows, there still is more work to be done to address the problem of under-reporting of incidents."
According to the latest report, "Hate Crime in California 2000," there were 1,957 hate crimes reported involving 2,002 offenses, 2,352 victims and 2,107 known suspects. In 1999, 1,962 hate crimes were reported involving 2,001 offenses, 2436 victims and 2,021 known suspects.
"Last year, most of the nearly 2,000 reported hate crimes were motivated by the victim's race or ethnicity and over one-third of the incidents occurred at or near the victim's home," Lockyer said. "Two-thirds of the incidents involved violent crimes of intimidation and assault. Just over 90 percent of the property crimes involved destruction and vandalism."
Other highlights of "Hate Crime In California, 2000" include:
*Race or ethnicity was the bias motivation for 63.1 percent (1,234) of the events;
*Sexual orientation was the bias motivation for 20.7 percent (405) of the events;
*Religion was the bias motivation for 15.4 percent (301) of the events;
*Violent crimes accounted for 66.1 percent (1,293) of the events;
*Hate crimes occurred at a residence, home, or on a driveway 36.6 percent (717) of the time;
*Hate crimes occurred on a highway, street, road, alley or sidewalk 24.0 percent (470) of the time;
*Hate crimes on school or college property accounted for 10.5 percent (205) of the total.
*Prosecutors filed 360 hate crime complaints, with 59.2 percent (213) resulting in hate crime convictions. (Overall, there were 275 convictions, increasing from 229 a year earlier.)
*Compared to 1996, there was a 32.6 percent increase in the number of events in which religion was the bias motivation (227 to 301), including a 42.2 percent increase in the number of events in which Anti-Jewish religion was the bias motivation (166 to 236).
*Compared to 1996, the number of hate crime events decreased 4.7 percent (2,054 to 1,957).
Lockyer was joined in the release of the report by members of the Attorney General's Civil Rights Commission on Hate Crime Reporting and representatives of civil rights and community organizations, including the Los Angeles County Human Relations Commission, American Jewish Committee, Asian Pacific American Legal Center, Mexican American Bar Association, Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center, Southern Christian Leadership Conference/Youth Empowerment Project, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles and the family of Joseph Ileto, a Filipino American who was killed in a hate crime in Los Angeles two years ago by a gunman who also attacked a Jewish day-care center.
"Hate Crime in California, 2000" is the latest annual report issued by the Attorney General for crimes reported involving any criminal acts where there is a reasonable cause to believe the crime was motivated by the victim's race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation or physical or mental disability. Through the Attorney General's Office, California began compiling and issuing annual reports on hate crimes in 1995, when 1,754 hate crime events were reported.
All law enforcement agencies in California participate in the Attorney General's Hate Crime Reporting Program. Each law enforcement agency submits copies of bias-motivated crime reports to the Department of Justice on a monthly basis. Reports received by the department are reviewed by at least two members of the Hate Crime Unit in the Attorney General's Criminal Justice Statistics Center before the data is included in the report.
The full report, Hate Crime in California 2000, can be found at the Attorney General's web page: http://ag.ca.gov/