Legislation authored by Assemblyman Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica) to address an increasing number of hate crimes was approved on July 6 by the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Assembly Bill 1126 will establish the first statewide commission in California to accurately monitor and track hate crimes and incidents, and to formally recommend policy to the governor and state Legislature. According to the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism’s 2020 Report to the Nation, hate crimes hit their highest level in over a decade in 2019, with over 7,000 hate incidents reported. In 2020, anti-Asian hate crimes surged by 149%, and hate crimes against gay men increased nearly 30%, according to the report.
Throughout the first half of 2021, the Los Angeles Police Department reported a 66% increase in hate crimes, and a 26% increase in hate crimes based on sexual orientation. The Black community has also been victimized nationwide at twice the level it represents in the population, Bloom said.
“Due to the staggering statistics and challenges of monitoring, collecting and analyzing this data, it is clear that California needs better tools and dedicated individuals to help us track and report this information,” Bloom added. “The Commission on the State of Hate will monitor and assess current trends relative to hate crimes, produce annual reports on these trends and make policy recommendations in order to help the state better address, and hopefully reduce, instances of these crimes.”
The FBI tracks hate crimes using information provided by more than 15,000 law enforcement agencies across the country. Last year, 86% of them did not report a single hate crime, including at least 71 cities with populations over 100,000, according to the Anti-Defamation League.
“The commission is necessary in order to fully understand who is perpetrating these crimes, who is being targeted and how we can develop policy solutions to address and reduce the instances of these crimes,” Bloom added.
The bill, which is supported by the Anti-Defamation League, Equality California and Islamic Networks Group, will next be considered by the Senate Committee on Appropriations.
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