AG Kamala Harris Announces Slight Decrease in Hate Crimes in California

SAN FRANCISCO – Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced that the number of reported hate crimes in California decreased 4 percent in 2011. There were 1,060 hate crime events reported statewide in 2011, a decrease from the 1,107 hate crime events reported in 2010.

“There is no place in our inclusive Golden State for hate crimes and their destruction of what makes California so special,” Attorney General 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 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 events involving a religious bias have increased slightly, 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.

All police agencies and district attorney’s offices in California, in cooperation with the Department of Justice, have developed local data collection programs and submitted hate crime statistics for this report. Categories are established by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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 hate crime reporting system was implemented by the Department of Justice in 1994. 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.

The California Attorney General’s Office published its first hate crimes report in 1995. All previous reports can be found at: http://oag.ca.gov/cjsc/pubs#hate

A complete copy of the Hate Crime in California 2011 report is attached to an electronic version of this press release.