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Hate crimes drop 20 percent in California in 2009

LOS ANGELES – Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. released an “encouraging” 2009 annual report last week showing that hate crimes in California fell by more than 20 percent last year, but he warned that, “we are still a long way from ending bigotry and prejudice.”

“While the drop in these crimes is encouraging,” Brown said, “hate has certainly not been banished from California. The sheer total of incidents motivated by hate is a reminder of how much harder we need to work to overcome prejudice, bigotry and ignorance.”

The Attorney General’s report, “Hate Crime in California 2009” was compiled using data submitted to the California Department of Justice by police, sheriffs’ departments and prosecutors in California’s 58 counties.

The report showed that hate crime events dropped 21.3 percent - from 1,397 in 2008 to 1,100 last year, the second consecutive year of decline. Overall, hate crimes have declined by half since they peaked in 2001, dropping from 2,261 to 1,100.

The new, favorable report follows news last month that the state’s violent crime rate dropped for a third straight year in 2009.

Contributing to last year’s downward trend in hate crimes was a decline in anti-black crime (-17.7 percent), anti-Jewish crime (-13 percent) and anti-gay crime (-22.1 percent). Together, those categories account for approximately 60 percent of all hate crime incidences in the state.

While violent offenses accounted for 63.5 percent of all hate crimes in 2009, last year marked the largest year-over-year decline in violent hate crimes (-22.8 percent) this decade.

In total, 479 hate crime cases were referred to prosecutors in 2009. Of those, 363 criminal cases were filed, 283 as hate crimes. Of the 257 hate crime cases with dispositions in 2009, there were 223 convictions (131 hate crime convictions and 92 other convictions).

The Attorney General’s office published its first hate-crimes report in 1995. The reports can be found at:

Under California law, the Attorney General is required to submit an annual report to the Legislature enumerating crimes motivated by the victim’s race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, or physical or mental disability.


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