A Major Rise in Hate Crime Rates in California and LA
The City of Los Angeles takes the lead in hate crimes across California. Data released by the Department of Justice indicate that close to 25% of all crimes throughout the state driven by racism and xenophobia were committed in LA. Other major cities in which there is a racially mixed population, such as San Diego and San Francisco, also suffer from high rates of hate crimes.
The situation is much better in smaller rural communities where the population is less mixed and more racially homogeneous. In some small town, there were no hate crimes reports in the last 10 years.
The data show that in 25 metropolitan zones across California there was a rise of more than 5 percent in the number of hate crimes in the years 2015-16. In fact, 2016 indicates the first year since 1999 in which a rise in hate crime rates was recorded.
In reality, the situation seems to be more severe than what it is indicated by official reports. According to the U.S. Department of Justice only half of the crimes based on racial and religious hatred are actually reported to the authorities.
Why is it happening?
Researchers believe there are a few explanations that can account for the recent rise in the number of hate crimes. Some believe the general growth of the population is the main reason. Urban areas are becoming more inter-racially cramped and therefore the tension increases.
Others blame the anti-immigrant tone adopted by Donald Trump’s administration which gives legitimacy to treating foreigners badly. Finally, the authorities are also responsible for this phenomenon. Lacking law enforcement measures and not enough education for pluralism and tolerance have contributed to the rise in racial and religious hatred.