According to reports, hate crimes in California have increased 17% from 2016 to 2017. Being that California is recorded as the #1 state in the nation with the most hate groups, second only to Texas, this should come as no surprise. This leaves many wonders what will it take for these numbers to start decreasing.
According to a 2016 report by the State of California Department of Justice, 931 hate crimes were recorded statewide that year. In 2017, that number jumped to all the way to 1,093. By all trends, this is shaping up to be the third straight year that hate crimes increase in California.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, an organization that tracks and exposes hate groups in the U. S., is currently tracking a total of 75 hate groups in California. Of those, two are KKK chapters, six are anti-LGBT groups, six are Neo-Nazi groups, nine are White Nationalist groups, and 12 are anti-Muslim. With the amount of effort in the Golden State to promote hatred, many residents are left to wonder “who is safe”?
After speaking to Raven Wilson, a Stockton resident, one is able to understand another person’s perspective on these hate crimes.
“I definitely would have expected a jump in hate crimes since Trump became President,” says Wilson, a former paid fundraiser for the Southern Poverty Law Center. “However, the fact that [hate crimes in Sacramento County are] so high is shocking to me. There is this idea that California is the most progressive state in the country. I know there are millions of good-hearted Californians that are vehemently against hate crimes. Regardless of dismal statistics, we can’t give up!”
“There are hate letters that come into the mosques on a regular basis. Things happen all the time,” says Basim Elkarra, Director of the Sacramento Chapter of Council on American-Islamic Relations. With a reported 66% increase in hate crimes since 2014, the figures support Elkarra’s statement. With California being seen as one of the most progressive states in the country, statistics regarding the horrid trends in hate crimes and hate groups say otherwise. Hate crimes regarding race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation continue to climb. Hopefully, these statistics will be a sign to all Californians that there is much work to be done in terms of promoting equality.