FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 5, 2017
Contact: Norma López, Director, OC Human Relations Commission 714-480-6594, [email protected]
(Orange County, CA)— The 2016 Orange County Hate Crime Report, published by the Orange County Human Relations Commission, shows “hate crimes” increased in 2016. The most frequently targeted were African Americans, the LGBT community, and Latinos. They make up the top three groups. However, the most dramatic increase was seen in the number of hate incidents, which in 2016 totaled 72 compared to the 43 reported in 2015. The 2016 reported hate incidents primarily targeted the Muslim community. “When there is hatred, it needs to be called out as such and responded to with a loud voice that is unequivocal. That is what our Commission does and should continue doing,” expressed OC Human Relations Commission Chair, Rabbi Rick Steinberg.
The 26th annual OC Human Relations Commission Hate Crime Report is based on the Commission’s collaboration with Orange County law enforcement agencies, local schools and community organizations. The focus of the report is on bias-related crime, or “Hate Crime” defined as a criminal act committed based on the victim’s real or perceived disability, gender, nationality, race or ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or association with a person or group with one or more of these identities. Under California law there are enhanced penalties for hate crimes. Perpetrators of “Hate Incidents” have the same motivation, but their hate speech and writings are not crimes, they are protected speech. Our process in reporting and tracking hate crime is consistent with the Attorney General of California, the FBI and most other Human Relations Commissions across California.
The increase of hate crimes documented in 2016 does not negate a downward trend of these crimes seen over the past decade. Nevertheless, the Commission continues to be concerned about every hate crime and also believes there is significant underreporting. While it is unknown how many hate crimes are not reported, the Commission encourages those who work in communities and neighborhoods (law enforcement, places of worship, schools, and community organizations) to report these crimes.
About the Orange County Human Relations Commission
The Commission was founded in 1971 by the Orange County Board of Supervisors in collaboration with the OC League of Cities. Over the last 25 years the Commission has documented, reported, and responded to hate crimes in Orange County. The Commission provides support for victims of hate crimes and trainings for the community, educators, students and law enforcement to increase the accuracy of reporting and decrease the number of hate-related crimes and incidents. To report a hate crime that occurred in Orange County, or learn more, contact Don Han at [email protected] or 714-480-6576 or visit www.ochumanrelations.org/hatecrime. Archived OC Hate Crime Reports can be downloaded at www.ochumanrelations.org/hatecrime/hate-crime-reports.
Our Mission: Seek out the causes of tension and conflict, discrimination and intolerance, and eliminate those causes.