The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

Anti-Latino Hate Crimes Spike in California in Possible Trend

By Mark Potok on August 12, 2011 - 2:00 pm, Posted in Anti-Latino, Hate Crime

Anti-Latino hate crimes in California spiked up by almost 50% last year, the state’s attorney general’s office reported Wednesday. That dramatic rise, from 81 such crimes in 2009 to 119 in 2010, followed a decade of declines.

The numbers may be indicative of a renewed national rise in hate crimes directed at Latinos, who are often assumed to be undocumented immigrants. Nationally, FBI hate crime statistics showed a 40% rise in such crimes between 2003 and 2007, but that was followed by decreases in 2008 and 2009. The national numbers for the year 2010 are not expected to be released until November of this year.

The national hate crime numbers are notoriously sketchy, and only give a very rough indication of trends in hate crimes. However, many experts consider California particularly good at reporting hate crimes, so that state’s statistics are considered much more accurate than most others’. California, along with Arizona, has been the scene of much conflict between native Americans and immigrants, and if that conflict is heating up there, a similar pattern may be developing nationally.

California officials also reported that the number of hate crimes directed at black people, the LGBT community and Jews declined between 2009 and 2010.

The apparent national rise in anti-Latino hate crime between 2003 and 2007 coincided with some of the more virulent anti-immigrant rhetoric, much of it coming from “mainstream” nativists like then-CNN host Lou Dobbs and then-Congressman Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.). If a second national spike in hate crimes against Latinos has occurred since then, it’s not clear why. An increasing proportion of the nativist invective of the last couple of years in America has been directed at Muslims.

In a related report, the Department of Justice in June published a study, based on questionnaires sent to a statistically representative sample of the population rather than on police reports, that estimated the number of hate crime victimizations between 2003 and 2009 — an average of about 195,000 a year. An earlier DOJ study that used the same methodology — considered far more accurate than the hate crime statistics that are reported to the FBI each year — found an average 210,000 hate crime victimizations each year between 2000 and 2003. The apparent decline in hate crimes nationally followed the pattern of generally declining violent crime.

  • Sam Molloy

    Gareyes, I believe that the rich White Conservatives in power try to keep all us little folks fighting with each other to avoid our ganging up on them.

  • Gareyes

    I have read on this website about gangs trying to ethnically cleanse their towns of African-Americans. we can all acknowledge there are conflicts within those communities but I don’t read anywhere that black or Latino politicians are going around stoking fears of other people. If anything, I hear their leadership calling for those communities to work together. Right-wing politicians are going around creating hysteria about immigrants and many of them also make obnoxious statements about the president’s race as well (Senator Coburn’s most recent comments) for instance. the fact is that conservative whites are much more likely to be in power, and to provide an aura of legitimacy towards racist attacks which are spread in mainstream media and have a greater reach than isolated incidents of blacks attacking other races or Latinos for that matter.

  • A.D.M.

    Jazz, are you being sarcastic?

  • A.D.M.

    Jon and Richard Farnsworth, you two are stupid. Have any of you ever decided to look in the archives before coming down with a case of verbal diarrhea? About a month or two ago, SPLC had an article about federal charges being brought against a Mexican gang called Azusa 13 for trying to, in their words, “ethnically cleanse” Southern California towns of African-Americans. Last year, August 2010 to be exact, SPLC had an article about black folks committing hate crimes against so-called “Latinos” in the New York City borough of Staten Island. Jon and Richard Farnsworth, you two clowns should quit while you’re ahead and get a cure for your verbal diarrhea. It’s not SPLC’s fault there are white nationalists who want to be big and bad. Oh, and don’t try to deny you have some anti-black sentiments because your comments are a reflection of that sentiment.

  • Sam Molloy

    I read today in El Dia, and my Spanish is not that great, that Kentucky’s DMV no longer will take an ITIN number as documentation to register a vehicle. No law here says you have to have an SSN to register a vehicle, but the DMV on it’s own now requires a nine digit number or the computer won’t take it. That little bit of Fascist A###olism now greets people just trying to renew their tags.

  • Richard Farnsworth

    Why do you never mention the anger,hatred and acts of violence committed against and between Latinos and Blacks when it is well known that the greatest of bad blood ,especially in the Ca,Az,NM area is between those two groups?
    Steet gangs in LA have long held intense hatred between those two races way out of porportion to anything committed by whites against either of those two?..Why do you select what you will print to make whites look the worst?

  • Marcia

    I don’t condone violence but I also don’t believe that trying to understand actions are condoning them. I suspect that with this struggling economy and the threatened cutbacks for those who need help the most (middle class and poor), that immigrants (particularly those viewed as illegals) will be seen as siphoning off diminishing funds and reducing even more the smaller pieces of the American pie. Unfortunate for everyone, especially when the people who could most pay their fair share will not.

  • Jazz

    “I can only hope for the day when the SPLC is defunct.”

    Me, too, Jon. I look forward to the day that this and other hate-watch sites are no longer necessary. You are right, the bogeyman is not *always* white, but he is always much more empowered, above the law, wealthy enough to make the laws, and mostly not subject to the laws that his victims are strangled with.

    So, along with you, I hope for a day when none of this will be true.

  • MST

    Please provide links.

  • Jon

    I can only hope for the day when the SPLC is defunct. You refuse to cover the racially-motivated attacks of whites by blacks across the nation and you refuse that the rise in anti-Latino hate crimes are also because they’re being targeted by blacks. You never cover the rise in attacks on Asians in this nation by blacks. Nope, the boogeyman always has to be white people of any age and gender.

  • Shadow Wolf

    “California, along with Arizona, has been the scene of much conflict between native Americans and immigrants,”

    The amiguous term “native Americans” in this article doesn’t explicitly say which “Americans” are at “conflict with immigrants”. But we already know which group of Americans are ardent foes of immigrant/Latinos.
    The so called “native Americans”(ergo not to be confused with Indigenous Native Americans) in this case are generally known as nativists, which comprised of “Americans” who are commonly associated with the Minuteman, Tea Pottiers, their rabid wing-nuts enablers/politicos and a host of other far right extremists groups, make up the vast majority.
    Notwithstanding the fact that most Americans are somewhat anti-illegal immigration, yes Indigenous Native Americans included as welll as Blacks and native born Latinos.