Hate crimes increased by 5 percent in 2017 in Los Angeles County, compared to the prior year, continuing a four-year upward trend that has seen a 32 percent jump in such incidents, according to a report released Thursday.
According to the study by the county Commission on Human Relations, there were 508 hate crimes reported in the county last year. Half of the reported hate crimes were race-based, increasing 9 percent from 235 in 2016 to 256 last year.
The report found that following a significant decline the previous year, crimes targeting black people rose 15 percent last year, going from 112 to 129. Although black residents make up only 9 percent of the county's population, they represented 50 percent of the racial hate crimes committed in 2017, according to the report.
"We are extremely concerned that reported hate crimes in L.A. County have been trending upwards for four years in a row," said Robin Toma, the commission's executive director. "The rise in L.A. County mirrors increases in hate crimes in most major U.S. cities in 2017."
According to the report, crimes targeting Latino/Latina victims rose for the third year in a row, from 62 to 72, representing a 16 percent jump, and they were the most likely of any group to be victimized in a violent racially motivated crime.
Crimes targeting gays, lesbians and LGBT groups dipped by 2 percent, but still represented 21 percent of all hate crimes, according to the report, and 76 percent of those crimes were violent in nature.
The number of religious crimes held steady at 101, while a record number of crimes -- 33 -- targeted transgender victims, the report found.