PRESS RELEASE: Hate Crime Prevention Passes City Council

Los Angeles - Following a Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) report that showed hate crimes are up in Los Angeles for the fourth year in a row, City Council passed a Public Safety Committee report today instructing the LAPD to develop proactive tools to protect vulnerable institutions and prevent violence motivated by hate. The number of reported hate crimes rose by 10.3% in 2019.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  

February 4, 2020

Contact for Councilmember Ryu:

Mark Pampanin

mark.pampanin@lacity.org

213.407.7616

 

Hate Crime Prevention Passes City Council

Coalition of Community Leaders Voice Their Support

Los Angeles - Following a Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) report that showed hate crimes are up in Los Angeles for the fourth year in a row, City Council passed a Public Safety Committee report today instructing the LAPD to develop proactive tools to protect vulnerable institutions and prevent violence motivated by hate. The number of reported hate crimes rose by 10.3% in 2019.

“Hate crimes continue to rise across our Country, but today, Los Angeles is taking a stand,” Councilmember Ryu said. “We will not give in to fear or cynicism. We will not accept this as the new normal. We will stand together, across communities and across neighborhoods, as one of the most diverse cities on Earth and make Los Angeles a national leader in hate crime prevention. This legislation is the first step in ensuring that our City is prepared and our communities are protected.”

The legislation originated as a motion co-introduced by Councilmember Ryu, Councilmember Paul Koretz, Councilmember Bob Blumenfield, and former Councilmember Mitch Englander in 2017. Among other things, that motion required LAPD to provide periodic reports to the City Council’s Public Safety Committee on the number of hate crimes reported each year. Hate crimes have continued to rise each year, increasing by 40.6% since 2016. Last year, the highest number of hate crimes were against Jewish Angelenos, with 69 reported crimes, followed by African-Americans with 68, and 53 against gay men. Hate crimes against trans individuals also rose by 23.5% and more than doubled for Muslims.

“It is unfortunate, but no surprise, that hate crimes are up in the region. My office has been tracking and working diligently on prevention and intervention measures to reduce hate crimes since the spike became apparent,” said Councilmember Paul Koretz.  “Our focus must be turned towards the future, which includes a multi-pronged approach. The first is shoring up physical infrastructure security at institutions. The second is closing the gap of communication with law enforcement and relevant agencies. The third is educating our community on a regular basis on how to report acts of hate and take action. We must combat hate wherever it rears its ugly head, and fight for more funding for hate crime prevention.”  

“As a former Board Member of the Los Angeles Anti-Defamation League and a former Chair of its Valley Advisory Board, I have been combating hate in Los Angeles for a long time,” said Councilmember Bob Blumenfield. “I am extremely alarmed by the 60% spike in anti-Semitic attacks over the past year, while attacks against religious communities have been on the rise for the past five years with no end in sight. Now more than ever, law enforcement needs to work hand-in-hand with the community and ensure that they can rapidly connect with faith groups whenever support or a criminal investigation is needed.”

The legislation approved today seeks proactive measures to both protect vulnerable institutions, like synagogues and cultural centers, as well as increase prevention, outreach, and information sharing. It instructs the LAPD to report back on establishing a Citywide communications tool that would serve as a single point of contact for critical incident coordination, as well as a central hotline for proactive hate crime prevention. The approved legislation also seeks to expand the victim’s assistance website with more languages and a broader array of resources for Los Angeles’ diverse communities, and offer LAPD security assessments to vulnerable institutions. 

“The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles is greatly concerned about the sharp rise in anti-Semitic attacks against the Jewish community in Los Angeles. Eight years ago we created our Community Security Initiative (CSI) to help protect our community members and institutions. We are incredibly grateful to Councilmember David Ryu for his partnership and leadership in combating this rising scourge of hate crimes against not only our Jewish community, but communities throughout the city who are dealing with these heinous acts,” said Ivan Wolkind, Chief Operating and Financial Officer of the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles.

“Within this nation of immigrants, all Americans are justly reminded of the sacred ties which are woven into the fabric of American history,” said Pastor J. Edgar Boyd, Senior Minister & CEO of the First African Methodist Episcopal Church (FAME).  “These ties of justice, freedom, opportunity, inclusion and common respect for all are the threads which have knitted us together under the banner of a sacred democracy. God-fearing and peace-loving Americans must teach to their children and to our peers the values of tolerance and inclusion and not be deterred by those who attempt to sow seeds of hate within the soil of our religious, ethnic, cultural or racial diversity.”

“Year after year, LGBT people continue to experience violent hate crimes at disproportionately high rates. The targeting of LGBT people—and other marginalized communities—has steadily increased under the Trump administration, and it should surprise no one that this ongoing contempt for vulnerable populations has violent consequences. The Los Angeles LGBT Center commends the City Council, under the leadership of Councilmember Ryu, for taking active steps to address the rising level of hate crimes, and for stepping up where our federal administration has failed,” said Terra Russell-Slavin, Director of Policy and Community Building at the Los Angeles LGBT Center.

“As African American Muslims we are reminded over and over again in the Quran 49:13 ‘We created you from a male and female and made you different races and tribes so you can get to know each other,’” said Omar Regan, Founder of the Halalywood Foundation. “We have allowed our religions, status, and political positions to divide us, when the truth is, we all need the same air to live, we all need food and drink to survive, we all want our loved ones to be safe, we all want to make someone in our lives proud of us. Thank you Councilmember Ryu for working hard to end hate crimes in our communities.”

“Today’s vote instructing LAPD to develop proactive tools on hate crimes in Los Angeles is an important first step in addressing hate violence against some of our most vulnerable communities. The increase in hate crimes every year for the past four years reminds us that we must be vigilant in our efforts to ensure the safety and well-being of the city’s religious and racial minorities. A3PCON strongly supports City Council’s passage of the Public Safety Report today and we are grateful for Councilmember Ryu’s leadership on this important issue,” said Manjusha P. Kulkarni, Executive Director of the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council (A3PCON). 

Councilmember Ryu has repeatedly pushed the City to increase it’s reporting and proactive prevention strategies of hate crimes and incidents. In 2019, he launched a Hate Crime Security Fund to provide grants to vulnerable institutions across Council District Four, made possible through Council District Four discretionary funding. 

Read the report here.

Read the 2019 hate crime data here.

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Assistant City Council President Pro Tempore David E. Ryu represents Los Angeles’ 4th Council District which includes Griffith Park, Sherman Oaks, Toluca Lake, Hollywood, Hollywood Hills, Los Feliz, Silver Lake, Miracle Mile, Hancock Park, Windsor Square, Larchmont and portions of Koreatown and Van Nuys.


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