Reported hate crimes in Los Angeles County increased for the first time in four years, while such incidents in schools more than doubled from last year, says a report quoted by the Los Angeles Times. The 26 percent spike was fueled primarily by a nearly 50 percent jump in racially motivated offenses, especially toward immigrants and between African Americans and Latinos, said the county Commission on Human Relations.
Conflicts between blacks and Latinos erupted on the streets, in jails and at schools, with school-based hate crimes soaring 111 percent. The rise in hate crimes across the county bucks state and national downward trends, the commission found. Despite the increase, the the number of hate crimes recorded last year – 633 – is the second-lowest number since 1990. The 2004 tally was 502 incidents. Nearly two-thirds of incidents last year were racially motivated, with 15 percent caused by religious intolerance and 15 percent related to sexual orientation. Blacks were the most common victims of hate crimes, followed by Latinos; gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals; and Jews. Violence and vandalism were the most widespread offenses.