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Hate crimes down in Orange County

August 18, 2011 |  3:31 pm

Though hate crimes in Orange County are down for the fourth year, acts targeting African Americans are up, according to a yearly report released by the county’s human relations commission.

Hate crimes were down for all groups except African Americans in 2010. Last year, 18 hate crimes were reported against African Americans, up from 16 in 2009.

Though African Americans compose only 2% of the county population of more than 3 million, they are the most frequent targets of hate crimes in the region, according to the report.

Crimes against Muslims were down from 10 to eight in 2010, but the commission’s report also noted there was a spate of hate incidents aimed at the group.

Rusty Kennedy, the executive director of the commission, said some threatening email and phone calls, which are not illegal and include protected speech, were a result of the February 2010 incident in which 11 Muslim students disrupted a speech at UC Irvine by the Israeli ambassador to the United States.

Compared to 2006, hate crimes are down by 45% to 56.

“When we see an economic downturn like we experienced in 2010, we would expect to see increased hate crime,” Kennedy said. “Instead we saw a decrease.”

Various law enforcement and community agencies contribute to the report.


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