Hate crimes in California increased by 32.6% in 2021, the highest since 2001: Report



Attorney General announces creation of a statewide hate crime coordinator position in the California DoJ


The 2021 Hate Crime in California Report has pointed at a spike in overall hate crimes reported in California. California Attorney General Rob Bonta on Tuesday, while releasing the report, highlighted information and resources to support ongoing efforts across the state to combat hate.

The report states that 1,763 hate crime incidents were reported in 2021, an increase of 32.6% as compared to the number of similar incidents reported in 2020. The number of hate crimes reported in 2021 is the highest since 2001 when, in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11, bias events skyrocketed.

“Today’s report undeniably shows that the epidemic of hate we saw spurred on during the pandemic remains a clear and present threat,” said Attorney General Bonta. “In fact, reported hate crime has reached a level we haven’t seen in California since the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11. As our state’s top law enforcement officer, I will continue to use the full authority of my office to fight back. We will keep working with our local law enforcement partners and community organizations to make sure every Californian feels seen, heard, and protected. While there is no single solution, it’s up to all of us to heed the call, because when our communities feel empowered, they come forward. Now, more than ever, it is critical that we stand united — there is no place for hate in California.”

Reported hate crimes targeting Black people remain the most prevalent and registered a 12.5% increase, while reported anti-Asian hate crime events during the same period increased dramatically – 177.5%. Reported hate crimes involving a sexual orientation bias also rose by 47% in 2021.

Here are some of the key findings from the 2021 Hate Crime in California Report:

* Overall, reported hate crime events increased 32.6% from 1,330 in 2020 to 1,763 in 2021;

Anti-Black bias events were the most prevalent, increasing 12.5% from 456 in 2020 to 513 in 2021;

Hate crime events motivated by a sexual orientation bias increased 47.8% from 205 in 2020 to 303 in 2021.

* Anti-Asian bias events increased 177.5% from 89 in 2020 to 247 in 2021, while anti-Hispanic or Latino bias events increased 29.6% from 152 in 2020 to 197 in 2021.

* Among hate crime incidents involving a religious bias, anti-Jewish bias events were the most prevalent and increased 32.2% from 115 in 2020 to 152 in 2021.

The rise in hate crime incidents in California is also reflected in the spike in number of cases filed for prosecution by district attorneys and elected city attorneys. Cases involving hate crime charges increased 30.1% in 2021 compared to 2020.

Attorney General Bonta has urged local partners and law enforcement agencies to review the resources and recommit themselves to taking action. During the pandemic the Attorney General also released a special report on anti-Asian hate crimes, which offers important context and analysis regarding the recent increases in anti-Asian hate crime events.

The Attorney General has been convening 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.

To further assist state and local law enforcement efforts to combat hate crime, the Attorney General on Tuesday formally announced the creation of a statewide hate crime coordinator’s position within the California Department of Justice’s Criminal Law Division. He 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. Since last year, the Attorney General has also engaged with local leaders through round-tables in San Francisco, Oakland, Sacramento, San Diego, Riverside, Long Beach, Santa Ana, and San Jose.