LA County Reports 76% Increase in Anti-Asian Hate Crimes in 2020, Largest Total Since 9/11

Today, the Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations (LACCHR) released a special report on anti-Asian hate crime in LA County in 2020. Since 1980, LACCHR collects and reports hate crime data submitted by law enforcement agencies, educational institutions, and community-based organizations. Today’s special report revealed that anti-Asian hate crimes rose 76% from 25 to 44 in 2020. This is the largest number of anti-Asian hate crimes reported since 2001.

To view the 2020 anti-Asian Hate Crime Report, please click here. LA County’s annual Hate Crime Report, which will encompass all reported hate crimes in LA County, will be released in November.

“While I am proud of our innovative LA vs. Hate campaign, the 2020 anti-Asian Hate Crime Report shows that we have much more work to do,” shared Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chair Hilda L. Solis, Supervisor to the First District. “The First District is home to many residents of Asian and Pacific Islander descent. It is disturbing that our AAPI communities continue to be targeted and discriminated against. We must ensure that Los Angeles County is truly a place where everyone can be who they are without fear.

“It is troubling to learn of the 76% increase in anti-Asian hate crimes in 2020,” said Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell. “These numbers continue to underscore the need for increased outreach for reporting hate crimes, along with culturally competent support to help prevent acts of violence and protect survivors. We are clear, that these crimes are disgusting racists tropes propagated by ignorant statements and actions that ultimately hurt our communities as a whole. It is my hope that the additional resources the Board has surged to the LA vs. Hate initiative will strengthen the impact of our many partners combatting hate on the frontlines and providing justice and healing to our communities.”

“I have been increasingly alarmed by the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes across Los Angeles, and  I am particularly disturbed by the three-fold increase in anti-Asian hate crimes perpetrated against women,” said Supervisor Kuehl. “This report reveals a significant and troubling problem that is growing, and makes clear that LA County must take every possible step to curb this rise in racial violence.”

“This report is disturbing but, unfortunately, not surprising,” said Supervisor Hahn. “We know the escalation of attacks against the AAPI community is taking a toll on residents. I have heard from residents who are afraid to walk alone, or go to the grocery store, or even leave their homes. The AAPI community needs to know that they are not alone. We are united in supporting them and addressing these attacks.”

“Hate has no place in Los Angeles County,” Supervisor Barger said. “I am sickened by the increase in crimes against the Asian-American community. This is an important reminder for all residents to stand up and speak out when they witness a hate crime. Our neighborhoods must be accepting and safe for residents of all cultural and ethnic backgrounds.”

“The rise in hate crimes reported against LA County’s Asian American communities is deeply troubling,” said Otto Solórzano, Acting Director of the LA County Department of Workforce Development, Aging and Community Services. “With hate crimes likely to be underreported, we know that the actual number of hate crimes is higher than we’re able to report. If you experience a hate crime or hate act, call 211 or go to www.LAvsHate.org to receive assistance.”

Significant findings include the following:

  • Specific Asian nationalities and ethnicities were the targets of hate. Most slurs were anti-Chinese, but anti-Japanese and anti-Asian Indian hate crimes also occurred. Among the victims were people of Korean, Taiwanese, Vietnamese, and Guatemalan ethnicity.
  • In 10 of the anti-Asian hate crimes (23%), the suspects explicitly blamed the victims for COVID-19.
  • The rate of hate-related violence in 2019 (76%) and 2020 (77%) was significantly higher compared to prior years.
  • The median age of victims increased from 30 to 41. Half of the victims were over 40, including two seniors. In 2019, there were no victims of hate crimes over 40. 
  • There was a tripling in the number of female victims of anti-Asian hate crime compared to the previous year, rising to nearly half of all victims
  • In cases in which the race of the suspect was known, Whites comprised 42% of anti-Asian hate crime suspects. This was followed by Latino/a (36%) suspects and African American (19%) suspects.

“This last finding is particularly important,” noted Robin Toma, LACCHR Executive Director. “Contrary to impressions which might be drawn from videos in social media posts and news coverage, which are of only a fraction of the actual hate crimes, our report indicates that the racial makeup of suspects committing anti-Asian hate crimes is much more racially diverse.”

“The scapegoating of Asian Americans during the current pandemic is part of a dark history that includes LA’s Chinatown massacre of 1871, the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and the mass incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II, as well as the racially-motivated murder of Vincent Chin in 1982 and the killing of Joseph Ileto in LA by a white supremacist in 1999,” said Commission President Guadalupe Montaño. “It did not help that the former President repeatedly referred to COVID-19 as ‘chinavirus’ and ‘kung-flu.’”

In response to the rise in hate, the Board of Supervisors directed LACCHR to develop an initiative to prevent and respond to hate incidents in the County, which resulted in “L.A. vs Hate.” The initiative has three components: (1) a community-driven public engagement campaign to encourage residents and organizations to unite against and report acts of hate; (2) the first government hotline (via 211) for reporting acts of hate and providing assistance to hate victims; and (3) a network of community agencies that provide hate prevention and rapid response services. Since launching in June 2020, “L.A. vs Hate” content has been viewed over 468 million times and has been shared over 88 million times. Since September 2019, when L.A. vs. Hate and 211 began accepting calls to report hate, L.A. vs. Hate has received more than 1,400 reports of hate acts.

For more information on the “L.A. vs Hate” initiative, including shareable graphics ready-made for social media, please click here.

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