Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Calif. hate crime reports drop 4 percent in 2011 - Sacramento Bee

The number of hate crimes reported in California dropped 4 percent last year, according to a report released Tuesday by the state attorney general's office.

There were 1,060 hate crimes reported in 2011, down from 1,107 in 2010.

Nearly six in 10 were based on the victim's race, ethnicity or national origin. The 587 crimes reported in 2011 were 26 fewer than the previous year.

Nearly a third were aimed at blacks. Crimes against Hispanics have dropped nearly 44 percent in the last 10 years, despite a bump in 2010 that experts attributed to the national debate over an Arizona law targeting illegal immigrants.

Hate crimes based on sexual orientation accounted for 23 percent of the overall total in 2011, though reports dropped 12.5 percent to 244.

Nearly 17 percent of hate crimes were based on religion. Religion-based crimes remained relatively steady from the year before, with about two-thirds targeting Jews.

Attorney General Harris praised the decrease in overall hate crime reports from local law enforcement to her office.

"There is no place in our inclusive Golden State for hate crimes and their destruction of what makes California so special," she said in a news release accompanying the report.

Violent hate crimes dropped nearly 8 percent, to 825 in 2011, while property crimes fell more than 3 percent, to 514 last year.

Prosecutors filed 204 hate crime charges last year. Of the 161 cases already completed, 74 resulted in hate crime convictions, 80 defendants were convicted of other charges, and seven defendants were not convicted.

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