LA County hate crimes drop

LA County hate crimes drop
Troy Anderson
LA Daily News
Article Last Updated:06/08/2007 12:54:54 AM PDT
The number of hate crimes in Los Angeles County dropped 6 percent last year, according to a report released today, but county officials said they are alarmed by a growing proportion of hate crimes involving youths, mobs and gangs.

“The increases we are seeing in hate crimes among kids is very disturbing,” said Adrian Dove, president of the Human Relations Commission. “We don’t know if it’s things they are getting from the video games, TV or what. A lot of the hatred stereotypes are generated by the time a child is 4 or 5 years old. It’s an issue that requires some study.”

A total of 594 hate crimes were reported in 2006, down from 632 in 2005, but still higher than a 14-year record low of 502 set in 2004.

Officials said the 2006 numbers could have been higher than previous years if data from the race riots that plagued the jails and juvenile detention systems were included, which involved two murders and hundreds of other racial attacks. The Sheriff’s Department did not report these incidents as hate crimes.

Regardless, officials said the most troubling aspect of the 27th annual hate crimes report was data showing the number of juvenile suspects increased from 152 to 233 representing 43 percent of all suspects, compared to 32 percent in 2005.

Gangs also played a large role in the perpetration of hate crimes, with a 33 percent increase from 79 to 105.

“The number of hate crimes involving gang members rose substantially,” Commission Executive Director Robin S. Toma said. “Gang members now account for one in five hate crimes. Moreover, gang members are responsible for both of the murders and the 10 attempted murders.”

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