Hate crimes in Orange County jumped 14 percent in 2011, ending a four-year decline, according to the 20th annual report from OC Human Relations, released Thursday.
Last year, there were 64 documented hate crimes reported, up from 56 in 2010, according to Rusty Kennedy, executive director of OC Human Relations.
In 2009, 77 hate crimes were logged. There were 82 in 2008 and 101 in 2007, Kennedy said. Hate crimes involving religious bigotry were also up, according to the report. Eight of the 15 religious hate crimes targeted the Jewish
community, seven were against Muslims and the rest involved Roman Catholics and Mormons.
Hate crimes involving sexual orientation rose from five incidents in 2010 to seven last year. Kennedy said the commission suspects hate crimes against gays, lesbians and transgender people are underreported.
Black residents have been the main target of OC hate crimes going back to 2003, Kennedy said.
Although only 2 percent of Orange County residents are black, they took the brunt of 30 percent of hate crimes last year, according to the report.
Just last week, vandals painted a swastika on the porch of a black family in Ladera Ranch, Kennedy said.
There were seven incidents involving Latinos, Kennedy said, adding that the commission believes Latinos are reluctant to report hate crimes.
"African Americans are again the most frequently targeted," Kennedy said. "They represent 19 of the (hate crime incidents)."
"The Human Relations Commission has been issuing this report for 20 years, and I think for us, we want to say the county does not accept this type of hate," Kennedy said. "In this time of partisan politics there are the kinds of things that divide us, but one thing that brings us together is our stand against hate crimes."
This year, the Orange County Board of Supervisors for tracking hate crimes by $50,000. The commission has an annual budget of about $1.5 million, most of which comes from fundraising.
The commission also works with local school leaders to promote anti-bullying programs to try to address racism as well, Kennedy said.
"We call (the program) Bridges,'' Kennedy said. ``Really, at its core, it's to fight hate and bigotry."
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Why do you think the region saw a reversal in trends with this jump in hate crimes?
- City News Service