The Los Angeles City Council passed a motion Tuesday aimed at improving the city’s systems for people who need to report hate crimes, citing a disparity between the number of such crimes reported to law enforcement and the number reported to the nonprofit Stop AAPI Hate.
The motion was introduced by Councilwoman Nithya Raman, who said before the vote that although the Los Angeles Police Department records hate crimes and hate incidents, comparison data from nonprofit organizations show a huge gap in reporting.
“This means that the numbers from LAPD are likely a drastic undercount, and that prevents us from making better policy, that prevents us from making resources available that can actually target hate crimes,” Raman added.
Reported violent crimes against Asian Americans doubled between 2015 and 2018 nationally, and the LAPD reported an increase in Los Angeles in 2020, when 15 hate crimes were reported against the Asian American Pacific Islander community, compared to seven in 2019. In 2020, the city had a total of 24 reported hate incidents and hate crimes against Asian Americans.
Meanwhile, the nonprofit Stop AAPI Hate reported 245 hate crimes and hate incidents in Los Angeles County in just seven months of 2020, from March 19 to Oct. 28.
“These gaps may be due in part to a fear of reporting to law enforcement, a lack of awareness of the rights and resources afforded to victims, as well as barriers to access official reporting sources,” the motion stated. “Historically, the only direct reporting mechanism for hate crimes and hate incidents at the city of Los Angeles has been through the Los Angeles Police Department.”
The motion instructed the Civil + Human Rights and Equity Department and the Information Technology Agency, with support from the LAPD, to report to the City Council within 60 days on how to:
- improve access for reporting hate incidents through technology, such as through a dedicated mobile app or the My311LA app;
- enhance the data capture through 311 to streamline the reporting of hate incidents and referral to relevant services;
- create a data analysis tool for hate-related data accessed by the Civil + Human Rights and Equity Department; and
- integrate various reporting entry points into one unified system.
The departments will also report on what resources are needed to implement the improvements.