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Hate crimes in Los Angeles rose in 2016, many against LGBTQ people, study finds

LGBTQ activists and community leaders lie in the intersection of 1st and Main streets in Los Angeles in August to protest violence against transgender and "gender-nonconforming" people. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

Reported hate crimes in Los Angeles increased 15% in 2016, with a marked rise in violence against LGBTQ individuals, according to a new analysis.

Los Angeles police data show the number of reported hate crimes rose from 200 in 2015 to 230 in 2016, the highest number of such crimes seen in the city since 2008, according to an analysis by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at Cal State San Bernardino.

But the 2016 numbers did not surpass the 559 reported hate crimes in Los Angeles in 2001, said Brian Levin, the center’s director.

Levin said the 2016 jump was driven by a combination of a 64% surge in violent aggravated assaults, an 18.5% rise in racially motivated crimes and a 24.5% increase in crimes against LGBTQ people.

LGBTQ people were targeted in 61 reported hate crimes in 2016, compared to 49 the year before. Transgender individuals saw a significant climb from two to eight reported attacks during that period.

Across L.A., the number of reported aggravated assaults in which hate was the motivating factor increased from 22 to 36 last year.

Levin said the numbers are higher than the general increases in such reported crimes, with aggravated assaults overall in L.A. in 2016 rising about 10% and robberies rising 13% compared to 2015.

African Americans were targeted the most of any category of hate crime, with 54 attacks in 2016, up from four the year before.

More than a third of L.A.’s reported hate crimes that year were some form of vandalism expressing hatred of another because race, religion or sexual orientation, the study found.

LAPD data show there were no reported bias-motivated homicides in the last two years.

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