The Associated Press reported two weeks ago that hate crimes in California had dropped to their lowest levels in ten years. While that would seem like good news, the report also claims that Los Angeles has an overwhelming number of hate crime activity compared to the rest of the state:
Prosecutors filed 330 hate crime charges last year, and there were 137 hate crime convictions.
Los Angeles County filed 117 hate crime charges, with no other county filing more than 18 such charges. (source: NBC11, cached)
On average, this means that for every one hate crime in San Diego and San Francisco counties combined, there were five in Los Angeles. By any explanation, thats a lot of hate.
In spite of these figures, feared repurcussion from the tensions in the Middle East, the recent shooting at a Seattle Jewish center, and, of course, Mel Gibson’s drunken tirade, a leading Jewish organization says of Los Angeles, “I think people feel safe here.”
Regardless, Los Angeles Police have “taken steps to increase police visibility in certain areas” after the Seattle shooting that left one person dead. (source: The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles)
In other hate crime news, Christine Pelisek at the LA Weekly has been covering the trial of Latino gang members who have tried to rid their Highland Park turf of black residents through intimidation and murder:
During the four-week trial in federal court in downtown Los Angeles, prosecutors painted a grim picture of Aves 43 gang members who, during a six-year campaign between 1995 and 2001, threatened, intimidated and beat African-Americans who dared to make Highland Park their home, and ultimately killed three black residents. (source: LA Weekly)
UPDATE (10:29pm): Commenter Jason McDaniel kills my efforts to sensationalize this story by pointing out:
Its not quite as bad as it seems … LA County has just about 3 times the population as the other two counties combined.
Indeed, according to Wikipedia, San Francisco County’s population is a paltry 739,426 and San Diego County has a meatier 3,051,280, while Los Angeles remains the most populous county in the entire nation with 10,179,716 residents. Suddenly, 330 hate crimes doesn’t seem like a concern…