The Hate crimes against Asians increased 76% in Los Angeles County last year, reflecting an alarming trend in many other jurisdictions as physical and verbal attacks against Asian Americans increased during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Of the 44 hate crimes against Asians reported in Los Angeles County in 2020, more than three-quarters involved physical violence, a marked increase from 58% in 2018, the Los Angeles County Human Relations Commission said in a published report on Wednesday.
In 2019, 25 hate crimes against Asians were reported.
Data for the report was collected from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and from more than 40 city police stations, as well as from various school law enforcement agencies and community organizations.
The number of reported hate crimes is generally viewed as unreliable, as victims are often reluctant to report.
However, the sudden spikes are significant and officials should work to understand the root causes, experts say.
Many point to the racially charged rhetoric of former President Trump, who highlighted the Chinese origins of the coronavirus, as the trigger for some anti-Asian attacks.
“It didn’t help that the former president repeatedly referred to COVID-19 as ‘chinavirus’ and ‘kung-flu,'” Human Relations Commission President Guadalupe Montaño said in a statement.
In 10 of the 44 crimes against Asians in Los Angeles County, the suspect explicitly blamed the victims for COVID-19, according to the report.
In a hate crime cited in the report, a Chinese man was waiting at a bus stop when a white woman started yelling, “Go back where you came from, you fucking Chinese!” before crossing the street and punching the man three times in the face.
In another case, a Japanese man was talking on his cell phone in a pharmacy parking lot when a Latino man holding a large knife asked him if he was Asian.
The suspect ordered the man to remove his sunglasses to reveal his eyes before attempting to stab him, according to the report.
The suspect was arrested.
The state attorney general found that hate crimes against Asians more than doubled in California last year, with assault and intimidation the most common crimes.
After a series of violent attacks on Asian American seniors across the country, volunteers formed foot patrols in Oakland Chinatown and other Asian neighborhoods.
A study of 16 jurisdictions across the country found a 164% increase in reports of hate crimes against Asians in the first quarter of 2021 compared to the same period last year.
New York saw the largest increase, with 223%, followed by 140% in San Francisco, 80% in Los Angeles and 60% in Boston, according to the study by the University’s Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism. Cal State San Bernardino.
Reports by Stop AAPI Hate, a group that tracks anti-Asian attacks, have shown the extent of anti-Asian racism across the country during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Some of the victims were the elderly and also children.
Some were coughed or spat, others were slapped or beaten, some were denied service in businesses, others were spoken of racist words or refused to interact with them.
Stop AAPI Hate tracks not only hate crimes, but also hate incidents, which do not rise to the level of a crime and usually involve name calling or name calling.
In Los Angeles County, the number of Asian American women victims of hate crimes tripled from five in the previous year to 15, according to Wednesday’s report.
In 2019, no hate crime victim in Asia was over 40 years old.
In 2020, half were over 40, including two older adults.
In the cases where an assailant was identified, 42% were white, 36% were Latino, and 19% were African American.
45 percent of anti-Asian hate crimes took place in the city of Los Angeles.
The county Human Relations Commission has received about 1,400 reports since its launch in June 2020.
Phyllis Gerstenfeld, who chairs the criminal justice department at Cal State Stanislaus, said there are no proven strategies to combat hate crimes.
Strengthening ties between law enforcement agencies and communities increases the likelihood that victims will report hate crimes, he said.
“We must constantly evaluate what we are doing and not feel that passing a particular ordinance or sending out some signals is going to fix the problem,” Gerstenfeld told the Los Angeles Times.