Attorney General Bonta Releases 2023 Hate Crime Report, Highlights Continued Efforts to Combat Hate

Friday, June 28, 2024
Contact: (916) 210-6000,

OAKLAND – California Attorney General Rob Bonta today released the 2023 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 decreased by 7.1% from 2,120 in 2022 to 1,970 in 2023. However, despite an overall decrease in reported hate crime events in 2023, reported hate crimes against our LGBTQ+, Jewish, and Muslim communities have increased, and too many continue to be unacceptably targeted by hate. To combat 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.

“While it is heartening to see an overall decrease in hate crimes in 2023, some of our communities, including our LGBTQ+, Jewish and Muslim communities, continue to be targeted and endangered by hate at alarming rates. An attack against one of us is an attack against all of us — there is no place for hate in California,” said Attorney General Bonta. “Everyone has a part to play as we continue to fight prejudice and create safer communities in California. I urge everyone to review the data and resources available and recommit to standing united against hate. The California Department of Justice has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to hate, and will continue working with law enforcement, elected leaders, and community organizations across the state to keep our communities safe through education, prevention, and enforcement.” 

The California Department of Justice has collected statewide data on hate crimes since 1995. Under California law, a hate crime is a criminal act committed in whole or in part because of a victim’s actual or perceived disability, gender, nationality, race or ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or association with someone with one or more of these characteristics. 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 contact information for other victims and witnesses.
  • Reach out to community organizations in your area that deal with hate crimes or incidents.

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. Reports of hate incidents can be made to the California Civil Rights Department CA v. Hate online portal at any time in 15 languages or by calling the CA v. Hate hotline at (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. 

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. Caution should be used when comparing 2023 hate crimes data to prior years, as not all agencies were able to submit a full year of data for 2023. For more information please reference the “Understanding the Data, Characteristics and Known Limitations” section in the report. 

Some of the key findings from the 2023 Hate Crime in California Report include: 

  • Reported hate crime events decreased 7.1% from 2,120 in 2022 to 1,970 in 2023.
  • Hate crime offenses decreased 8.9% from 2,589 in 2022 to 2,359 in 2023.
  • The number of victims of reported hate crimes decreased 6.9% from 2,474 in 2022 to 2,303 in 2023.
  • Reported hate crime events involving a racial bias decreased 21.6% from 1,298 in 2022 to 1,017 in 2023.
  • Anti-Black bias events remained the most prevalent, despite a 20.6% decrease from 652 in 2022 to 518 in 2023.
  • Anti-Asian bias events decreased 10.71% from 140 in 2022 to 125 in 2023.
  • Reported hate crime events involving a religion bias increased 30% from 303 in 2022 to 394 in 2023.
  • Anti-Jewish bias events rose from 189 in 2022 to 289 in 2023, an increase of 52.9%.
  • Anti-Islamic (Muslim) bias events rose from 25 in 2022 to 40 in 2023.
  • Between 2022 and 2023, hate crime events motivated by sexual orientation bias increased by 4.1% from 391 in 2022 to 405 in 2023, anti-transgender bias events increased by 10.2% from 59 in 2022 to 65 in 2023, and anti-LGBTQ+ bias events increased by 86.4% from 2022.
  • From 2022 to 2023, the number of hate crimes referred for prosecution increased from 647 in 2022 to 679 in 2023. Of the 679 hate crimes that were referred for prosecution, 463 cases were filed by district attorneys and elected city attorneys for prosecution. Of the 463 cases that were filed for prosecution, 322 were filed as hate crimes and 141 were filed as non-bias motivated crimes.

Given the ongoing challenges presented by hate crimes, Attorney General Bonta 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 lawsguidance 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. Beginning in 2021, the Attorney General began proactively engaging with local city leaders in the biggest cities in California through roundtables in San FranciscoOaklandSacramentoSan DiegoRiversideLong BeachSanta AnaSan JoseStocktonAnaheimBakersfieldFresno, and Irvine. 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 can further explore the most recent hate crime data on OpenJustice.

The 2023 Hate Crime in California Report can be found here.

A video message from Attorney General Bonta can be found here

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