Hate crimes against Asian Americans in California increased by 107% in 2020, according to a new report from the state’s Department of Justice.
Behind the surge: The crimes spiked between March and April of last year when stay-at-home orders were given in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the report said.
- California saw a total of 89 hate crimes against Asian Americans reported in 2020, compared to 43 from the previous year.
- Of the reported crimes from last year, 72 were violent, an increase of 125% from just 32 in 2019. These crimes include simple assault and intimidation.
- The state also saw a 55% increase in reported property hate crimes — 17 were reported last year, while 11 were reported in 2019. These include crimes such as arson, burglary, destruction, damage and vandalism.
- Of 18 different counties that reported anti-Asian hate crimes, San Luis Obispo had the highest victimization rate per 10,000 Asian residents.
The bigger picture: Overall, hate crimes in California increased by 31% in 2020, with 1,330 cases reported. Of this number, 430 have been referred to prosecution, the Sacramento Bee noted.
- Hate crimes against African Americans made up the majority of reports in 2020 and were up by 87% from the previous year. Anti-white bias also increased from 39 in 2019 to 82 in 2020.
- Rob Bonta, the state’s first Filipino American attorney general, said that last year was not just about a deadly virus, but also “an epidemic of hate.” Despite the increase in statistics, hate incidents are still believed to be underreported.
- President of the Chinatown Chamber of Commerce, Carl Chan — who fell victim to an attack himself in April — encouraged others to come forward, saying there are solutions. “Please don’t be afraid. We are here together. Together, we can stop this,” he said, according to The Mercury News.
- Bonta has developed prosecutor guidance and a law enforcement bulletin to ensure that state and local authorities can better respond to hate crimes. He has also released hate crime brochures in 25 languages for victims and members of the public.
Featured Image via California Attorney General Rob Bonta