It’s been nearly two years since we wrote to you about hate crimes. Some of our readers are acutely aware that prejudice and racism are still a severe issue in the United States. Several movements are underway to raise awareness and make America safe for us all.
In recent years, we have heard of scores of hate crimes that have happened. We saw disturbing marches on television. Some of us have been victims of racial and prejudicial slurs or violence. Even in sunny and serene Southern California, hate crimes abound.
Hate crimes in Orange County rose in 2019 by 24 percent from the previous year, according to the Orange County Human Relations Commission’s 2019 Hate Crimes Report. It’s the fifth year in a row that the number of hate crimes increased, The Los Angeles Times reports. While hate crimes were up from 67 to 83, so-called hate incidents decreased slightly from 165 to 156 in 2019.
2019 Hate Crimes Report
The legal definition of a hate crime, under California Penal Code 422.6, is defined as a criminal act committed, in whole or in part, because of one or more of the following actual or perceived characteristics of another’s disability, gender, nationality, race or ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or association with a person or group of persons with one or more of the preceding actual or perceived characteristics.
On the other hand, it should be noted that a hate incident is a behavior that is motivated by hate or bias towards a person’s actual or perceived disability, gender, nationality, race or ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation but is not criminal in nature.
Orange County, California, is a diverse county. Roughly 30 percent of residents are foreign-born, more than 40 percent speak a language other than English at home, and over 80 faiths are practiced.
While Black people make up less than 2 percent of Orange County’s residents, they were targeted the most. Jews were the most targeted religious community. Hate crimes and incidents may seem rare in a population of 3.2 million people, but the number is probably much higher because most cases are not reported.
“We cannot allow fear, hatred and bigotry to divide us. We must listen to one another, communicate respectfully, build bridges of understanding, and support each other through these traumatic events,” said Michael Reynolds, chair of the Orange County Human Relations Commission.
Orange County Criminal Defense Attorney
Please contact the Law Office of Ronald G. Brower if you have need of criminal defense in Orange County. Attorney Brower has decades of expertise to bring to the table. He can advocate for your family and help you achieve a favorable outcome.