Hate incidents motivated by anti-Asian bigotry increased 1,800%, according to 2020 Hate Crime Report, which was released on Friday, Sept. 17, by the Orange County Human Relations Commission.
The county report did not provide a city-by-city breakdown of hate crimes or hate incidents.
Four 2020 Seal Beach hate-related events were omitted from the State of California hate crime report that was issued in June. However, they were omitted from the state government’s report on hate crimes that was issued earlier this year.
The OC Human Relations Commission defines hate crimes and hate incidents as different things. “In California, a hate crime is defined by the Attorney General as a criminal act committed, in whole or in part, because of one or more of the following actual or perceived characteristics of the victim: 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,” according to the Hate Crime Report.
“A hate incident is a behavior motivated by hate or bias toward a person’s actual or perceived disability, gender identity, nationality, race or ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation but is not criminal in nature. Typically, these behaviors are protected by the First Amendment right to freedom of expression,” according to the report.
“The OC Human Relations Commission receives reports from law enforcement, school districts, colleges, universities, community-based organizations, and individuals,” according to the report.
“Duplicates are eliminated, and reports are verified to meet the criteria of the legal definition of hate crime in the California penal code,” according to the report.
“In 2020 alone, there was an alarming rise in hate incidents. There was a 69% increase in the total number of hate incidents reported in 2020,” according to the report.
“Of the 263 reported cases, there was a 114% increase in anti-Semitic hate incidents, an1800% increase motivated by anti-Asian hate, and a 23% increase motivated by anti-Black hate,” according to the report.
“In 2020, the OCDA received 30 such cases for consideration and filed charges for 18 of them,” according to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office Summary of hate crimes. (It’s on page 12 of the OC Hate Crime Report.)
“In 2020, hate incidents in Orange County more than doubled from 2019. Of the 263 reported hate incidents reported, 76 cases were related to anti-Asian discrimination, a ten-fold increase from last year. Anti-Semitism also saw a significant rise with 94 hate incidents reported compared to 44 in 2019.
“The 2020 Hate Crimes Report reflects an increase in both hate incidents and crimes from 2019 in Orange County, with the most frequently reported hate crime being motivated by the person’s race, ethnicity, and/or national origin, followed by religious intolerance and anti-LGBTQ,” according to a statement issued by OC Community Resources.
The California 2020 Hate Crime Report, which was released in June 2021, included a table of hate crimes by county and by the jurisdiction within each county.
The city of Seal Beach does not appear in the table under Orange County, located on page 16 of “Hate Crime in California 2020.”
A 2020 case of harassment against a Seal Beach couple that appeared to be racially motivated was prosecuted in juvenile court, which is closed to the public.
“I looked into the case you are referring to and noted that it should have been reported as a hate crime (due to the requested charge of CPC 422.6),” wrote Seal Beach Police Lt. Julia Clasby in a Tuesday, Sept. 21 email.
“It appears there was a clerical error in the way that hate crimes are input in the CAD/RMS report module which caused it not to be captured when the management analyst was collecting the data,” Clasby wrote.
“Thank you for bringing it to our attention as the error has now been corrected going forward. We discovered that there were four hate incidents during 2020 that were not captured in the DOJ collection. DOJ is aware of the issue; however 2020 stats can no longer be added to their 2020 report,” Clasby wrote.
“In response to your second question, per the court liaison, the case is still with juvenile court,” Clasby wrote.
The are strict limits on information about juvenile cases that may be released to law enforcement agencies, let alone the news media.
“The only information that was shared with me is that SBPD did request the charge of CPC 422.6,” Clasby wrote.
Earlier this year, in response to an anti-Asian hate letter sent to a Leisure World resident, the Seal Beach Police Department launched a hate crime reporting portal. (The address is https://www.sealbeachca.gov/Departments/Police/Report-a-Hate-Crime/.) As of Sept. 14, Seal Beach Police Lt. Nick Nicholas said there were no updates that case.