The number of hate crimes in California decreased slightly in 2011, according to a new report from the state’s Attorney General Office.
In 2011, there were 1,060 hate crime events reported statewide, a decrease from the 1,107 hate crime events reported in 2010, amounting to a 4.2 percent decline.
“There is no place in our inclusive Golden State for hate crimes and their destruction of what makes California so special,” Attorney General Kamala Harris said. “I welcome the decrease in these senseless crimes and commend state and local law enforcement for their efforts to protect every Californian.”
Hate crime events involving a race/ethnicity/national origin bias decreased 4.2 percent, from 613 in 2010 to 587 in 2011, and those involving a sexual orientation bias decreased 12.5 percent, from 279 in 2010 to 244 in 2011, according to the report, “Hate Crime in California, 2011.”
The one increase was reported in religious bias hate crimes, which saw an increase of 1.5 percent, from 198 in 2010 to 201 in 2011. Anti-Jewish hate crimes continue to be most common, accounting for 8 percent of all hate crimes reported since 2002. Of the 201 hate crimes involving a religious bias in 2011, 132 were anti-Jewish.
Hate crimes with race/ethnicity/national origin account for the most common type of hate crime in the last 10 years and represented 57.5 percent of all hate crime events in 2011. Anti-Black hate crimes account for 29.5 percent of all hate crimes. Since 2002, anti-Hispanic hate crimes have decreased by 43.6 percent.
Hate crimes with a sexual orientation bias were the second most common type of hate crime, comprising 23 percent of hate crimes reported in 2011. Within this category, hate crimes with an anti-homosexual motivation are the most common, accounting for 10.5 percent of all hate crimes in 2011.
A total of 313 hate crime cases were referred to prosecutors in 2011, and 253 cases were filed for prosecution. Of the 253 filed, 204 were filed as hate crimes. Of the 161 cases with a disposition available for this report, 46 percent (74) were hate crime convictions, 50 percent (80) were other convictions and 4 percent (7) were not convicted.
The collection of hate crime data is mandated by the Department of Justice. Law enforcement agencies are required to submit copies of initial crime reports to the department, and each agency has established procedures incorporating a two-tier review process. The first level is done by the initial officer who responded to the suspected hate crime incident. Then each report is reviewed by at least one other officer to confirm that the event was, in fact, a hate crime.
Hate crimes are either classified as violent offenses or property crimes. Violent crime offenses decreased 7.6 percent, from 893 in 2010 to 825 in 201. The majority of the violent crimes fell into the categories of intimidation (348); assault (239) and aggravated assault (193). There was one murder attributed to a hate crime last year in California.
Property crimes fell from 532 in 2010 to 514 in 2011, for a 3.4 percent decrease. The most common type was vandalism, with 467 reported incidents statewide, according to the data.
Stanislaus County had six reported events of hate crime with 10 offenses in 2011. There were eight victims and five suspects identified. Four of the events were reported in Modesto and one each in Patterson and Turlock.