The Los Angeles City Council passed a motion Friday 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 effort was led by Councilwoman Nithya Raman, who introduced a motion passed in November to have the Civil + Human Rights and Equity Department and the Information Technology Agency report on ways to improve access for reporting hate incidents, including through a dedicated mobile app or the My311LA app.
Following that report, the City Council on Friday voted to have the City Administrative Officer identify funding to build capacity for 311 staff to include delivery of trauma informed training for 311 staff handling hate reporting calls, as well as funding opportunities to support hate reporting improvements, address needs of hate crime victims, improve the efficacy of bystander interventions and support research partnerships to study the feasibility of a reporting application.
“I feel strongly about this work: the steep rise in hate crimes in L.A. demands informed policy decisions and broad mitigation strategies. But it is hard to move forward without more reporting and better data that allows us to understand trends on hate crimes,” Raman said in a statement Friday. “Implementing the recommendations in this report will help us take those next steps in our city and help us craft culturally informed responses, including expanding investments in hate crime responses that go beyond law enforcement alone.”
The motion also instructed the Civil + Human Rights and Equity Department, the Information Technology Agency and the Los Angeles Police Department to provide quarterly progress reports on implementation of expanded reporting fields and the integration of hate reporting data.
“Hate can have no home in Los Angeles. I am so grateful to leaders like Councilmember Raman for working to protect our most vulnerable and to make Los Angeles a national leader in hate prevention,” said LA Civil Rights Department Executive Director Capri Maddox. “Today’s vote will allow us to better track and respond to hate crimes, as well as develop models for hate intervention and prevention. It is just one way we are building an L.A. for all.”
Raman said in November 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 said in November.
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,” a motion introduced by Raman in September said. “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.”