Amidst surge in reported hate crimes, Attorney General urges local partners across California to recommit themselves to taking action
Issues updated Law Enforcement Bulletin highlighting new laws and guidance to assist in investigation, prosecution, and prevention of hate crimes
LOS ANGELES – California Attorney General Rob Bonta today released the 2022 Hate Crime in California Report, and highlighted information and resources to support ongoing efforts across the state to combat hate. Overall, reported hate crime events in California increased 20.2% from 1,763 in 2021 to 2,120 in 2022. Reported hate crimes targeting Black people remain the most prevalent and increased 27.1% from 513 in 2021 to 652 in 2022, while reported anti-Asian hate crime events decreased by 43.3% from 247 in 2021 to 140 in 2022, and reported hate crime events involving a sexual orientation bias increased, rising 29% from 303 in 2021 to 391 in 2022. Amidst this surge in reported hate crime offenses and events, Attorney General Bonta urges local partners and law enforcement to review the resources highlighted today and to recommit themselves to taking action.
As part of those efforts, Attorney General Bonta today issued an updated Law Enforcement Bulletin to all district attorneys, chiefs of police, sheriffs, and state law enforcement agencies with an updated summary of the multiple California criminal laws that prohibit hate crimes or provide enhanced penalties for specified hate-related acts, as well as guidance related to the investigation and prosecution of hate crimes. The Attorney General continues to convene law enforcement, elected leaders, and community organizations at the local level across the state to help increase awareness around available resources and strengthen responses to hate crime in California.
“This report is a stark reminder that there is still much work to be done to combat hate in our state. I urge local partners and law enforcement to review these findings and recommit to taking action,” said Attorney General Bonta. "Our office continues to work with law enforcement, elected leaders, and community organizations across the state to increase awareness and bolster responses to hate crimes. An attack against one of us is an attack against all of us. The alarming increases in crimes committed against Black, LGBTQ+ and Jewish people for the second year in a row illustrates the need for our communities to join together unified against hate. It takes all of us working together to combat extremism and foster a safe and inclusive environment for all Californians. Now, more than ever, it is critical that we stand united — there is no place for hate in California.”
The California Department of Justice remains committed to collecting and reporting this vital data on hate crimes, which has been ongoing since 1995. Hate crimes are distinct from hate incidents, which are actions or behaviors motivated by hate that may be protected by the First Amendment right to freedom of expression. Examples of hate incidents include name-calling, insults, and distributing hate material in public places. If a hate incident starts to threaten a person or property, it may become a hate crime. Historically, hate crime data has generally been underreported and the California Department of Justice recognizes that the data presented in its reports may not adequately reflect the actual number of hate crime events that have occurred in the state. Reports of hate incidents can also be made to the California Civil Rights Department CA v. Hate hotline and online portal at any time in 15 languages or by calling (833) 866-4283 or 833-8-NO-HATE, Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and talking to a trained civil rights agent in over 200 languages. Outside of those hours, people can leave a voicemail or call 211 to report a hate incident and seek support from a professional trained in culturally competent communication and trauma-informed practices.
Some of the key findings from the 2022 Hate Crime in California Report include:
- Overall, reported hate crime events increased 20.2% from 1,763 in 2021 to 2,120 in 2022. A hate crime event is a single occurrence but may involve more than one hate crime offense. For example, a person may be threatened and assaulted at the same time; this would involve multiple hate crime offenses within the same hate crime event.
- 2,589 hate crime offenses were reported in California, increasing by 16.6% from 2021.
- Hate crime events motivated by a sexual orientation bias increased 29% from 303 in 2021 to 391 in 2022.
- Anti-Black or African American bias events increased 27.1% from 513 in 2021 to 652 in 2022.
- Anti-Hispanic bias crimes rose from 197 in 2021 to 210 in 2022.
- Anti-Asian bias events fell from 247 in 2021 to 140 in 2022, a decrease of 43.3%.
- Anti-Jewish bias events increased 24.3% from 152 in 2021 to 189 in 2022.
- Anti-Protestant bias events rose from 2 in 2021 to 12 in 2022.
- Anti-Islamic (Muslim) bias crimes rose from 18 in 2021 to 25 in 2022.
- Anti-transgender bias events increased from 38 in 2021 to 59 in 2022.
- Anti-gay (male) bias events increased 28.4% from 211 in 2021 to 271 in 2022
- Anti-lesbian bias crimes rose from 27 in 2021 to 33 in 2022.
- From 2021 to 2022, the number of hate crimes referred for prosecution increased 5.9% from 610 in 2021 to 647 in 2022. Of the 647 hate crimes that were referred for prosecution, 456 cases were filed by district attorneys and elected city attorneys. Of the 122 cases with a disposition available for this report, 43.4% were hate crime convictions and 45.9% were other convictions.
Attorney General Bonta has issued a series of reports, guidance, and resources to help the public and law enforcement better understand and address hate crimes in California. Given the ongoing challenge presented by hate crime, the Attorney General urges leaders across the state and members of the public to review and make use of these important resources, which include an updated law enforcement bulletin summarizing applicable civil and criminal hate crime laws, guidance to prosecutors to help strengthen prosecution and enforcement, and brochures and fact sheets in more than two dozen languages to assist Californians in identifying and responding to hate crime events. In 2021, Attorney General Bonta also released a special report on anti-Asian hate crimes during the pandemic, which offers important context and analysis regarding increases in anti-Asian hate crime events in 2020.
Attorney General Bonta launched the Racial Justice Bureau, which, among other things, supports the California Department of Justice’s broader mandate to advance the civil rights of all Californians by assisting with new and ongoing efforts to combat hate and bias. In 2021, the Attorney General began proactively engaging with local city leaders in the 13 biggest cities in California through roundtables in San Francisco, Oakland, Sacramento, San Diego, Riverside, Long Beach, Santa Ana, San Jose, Stockton, Anaheim and Bakersfield. More broadly, the Attorney General is deeply committed to responding to the needs of historically marginalized and underrepresented communities and, in July 2021, also launched the Office of Community Awareness, Response, and Engagement to work directly with community organizations and members of the public as part of the effort to advance justice for all Californians. In June 2022, a hate crimes coordinator was appointed within the California Department of Justice’s Criminal Law Division in order to further assist state and local law enforcement efforts to combat hate crimes.
Members of the public are encouraged to explore the most recent hate crime data on OpenJustice.
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:
- If you are in immediate danger, call 911 and if needed, seek medical attention.
- Write down the exact words that were used and take note of any other relevant facts.
- If safe to do so, save all evidence and take photos.
- Get the contact information for other victims and witnesses.
- Reach out to community organizations in your area that deal with hate crimes or incidents.
The full 2022 Hate Crime in California report is available for review here.