Racially charged hate crimes and incidents in Orange County, California, saw a significant increase last year, a new report from the OC Human Relations Commission revealed.
In 2021, the county recorded 97 hate crimes and 301 incidents that failed to get criminal charges. While there were more hate crimes reported in the county in 2020 at 112, there were fewer incidents at 263.
According to the report, 56% of the hate crimes were race-related, 21% were religion-driven and 23% were related to sexual orientation. Meanwhile, 65% of the reported hate incidents were due to race and 29% were due to religion.
People of Asian backgrounds were the majority of hate incident victims, accounting for 51% of the total cases.
Meanwhile, 10 out of the 97 reported hate crimes victimized Asian/Pacific Islanders, which revealed a 43% increase from the year before. There were 153 hate incidents against Asian/Pacific Islanders last year, a significant increase of 164% from 2020.
The 22 hate crimes against LGBTQ-plus people in 2021 registered an 83% spike from the previous year.
There was a 6% increase in hate crimes and incidents overall from 2020 to 2021. Compared to five years ago, the hate activity in Orange County has soared 165%.
In response to the findings, OC District Attorney Todd Spitzer pointed out that the trend reflects a 424% increase in hate-motivated behavior and incidents in the county in the past decade.
In a statement posted to Twitter, Spitzer called the figures “distressing” and “despicable.”
“There’s a lot of concern there,” Orange County Human Relations CEO Allison Lehmann Edwards was quoted as saying. “Anyone can be the target of hate, but often hate crimes and hate incidents are also designed to affect a whole community.”
A state attorney general’s report released earlier this year revealed that anti-Asian hate crimes rose across California in 2021 to about 177% from 2020, the worst level since the aftermath of the 9/11 terror attacks.