California Attorney General Rob Bonta unveiled new statewide hate crime data Tuesday, announcing that 2021 was another year of concerning increases in crimes against Black and Asian residents.
“Reported hate crime has reached a level we haven’t seen since the aftermath of the attacks on September 11th,” Bonta said in a livestreamed news conference from Sacramento. “We don’t shy away from the hard truths. We learn from them. One hard truth is the epidemic of hate we saw spurred on by the pandemic continues.”
Bonta said anti-Black crimes were once again the most prevalent, with 513 reported incidents last year. The 240 anti-Asian hate crimes reported in 2021 represented a “skyrocketing” 177% increase from the previous year, he added, when Bonta blamed “the bigoted words of our former president” for turning “a trickle” of racial animosity into “a flood.”
Bonta said that the state also recorded 303 gender-based hate crimes, 197 anti-Latino hate crimes and 152 anti-Jewish crimes last year. He said the new figures reflect “a grim reality” that California’s diverse communities already know too well.
Bonta reminded that the numbers are likely an undercount.
“Still today too many are too afraid to come forward,” he said.
“The pandemic gave way to an epidemic of hate,” he said.
Joshua Sharpe is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: [email protected] Twitter @joshuawsharpe