The FBI has launched a nationwide campaign to encourage victims of hate crimes to report incidents to federal authorities.
The Los Angeles field office, which covers Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and three other counties, is involved in multilingual outreach at a time when Orange County authorities report an increase in anti-Asian hate crimes and discriminatory incidents. .
The FBI is the primary body investigating criminal violations of federal civil rights laws. The FBI defines a hate crime as a “criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s prejudice against race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender. or a gender identity ”.
Kristi Johnson, deputy director in charge of the Los Angeles office, said offenses against a person because of political ideology are not considered hate crimes.
The motivation for the campaign, Johnson said, is not because victims are afraid to report crimes or other obstacles.
“They don’t really know how to call,” she said in an interview.
The FBI is reaching out through social media, billboards, signs on transit buses, gas station video monitors, and other means.
Hate crimes can be reported at 800-225-5324 or tips.fbi.gov.
There were 7,554 hate crimes nationwide in 2020 involving 10,528 victims, the FBI said.
According to the OC Human Relations Commission, 112 hate crimes were reported in Orange County in 2020, and 263 hate “incidents” – confrontations often marked by hate speech, but not illegal.
Of these, there were seven hate crimes against Asians in 2020, an increase from five the year before, according to a commission report released this month. The number of hate incidents against Asians rose from four to 76, an increase of 1,800%.
OC District Attorney Todd Spitzer attributed the increase to a nationwide backlash against Asians after the coronavirus originated in China.
“I will not tolerate and I will punish all hate criminals. Every moment I have been encouraging more people to come forward to report hate crimes, ”Spitzer said in a press release Friday in which he announced charges against a man in two separate hate crimes cases.
The Orange County Sheriff’s Department reported seven hate crimes in 2020, including four against Jews, after nine in total in 2019; Garden Grove police reported nine hate crimes, including four against Buddhists, after three in 2019; and Irvine Police reported seven hate crimes, including four against blacks, the same total as in 2019. Anaheim Police said no activity took place in 2020 that met specific guidelines from the FBI to classify an incident as a hate crime. Anaheim also reported that no hate crimes were committed in 2019.
The Los Angeles Police Department reported 368 hate crimes in 2020, including 82 against blacks, up from a total of 285 in 2019. The LA County Sheriff’s Department reported 26 in its patrol area in 2020, including 12 against blacks, after reporting 15 in 2019. The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department reported six hate crimes in 2020, including four against blacks, after two in 2019.
The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department reported that no hate crimes occurred in 2020 after reporting five in 2019. This agency could not be reached for comment on its hate crimes total on Friday. .
Riverside Police reported 12 hate crimes, most against blacks, on Sep. City police reported 15 hate crimes in 2019.