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Hate crimes rise 14% in Orange County

August 31, 2012 |  6:43 am

Rusty Kennedy, executive director of the Orange County Human Relations Commission.

After years of decline, Orange County faces a 14% increase in reported hate crimes, many of them targeting people based on race or religion, a new report says.

According to the report released by the Orange County Human Relations Commission, African Americans, who make up 2% of the county's 3.2 million residents, were most frequently the victims of hate crimes, with 19 reported cases.

Members of the Jewish and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities also were targets in the increasing number of incidents, the report said. In all, 64 reported hate crimes occurred in 2011, the report said, as the county has grown more diverse.

"I would hope there would be a day when you wouldn't see 64 documented hate crimes in our community," said Rusty Kennedy, who heads the commission and who began recording the statistics 21 years ago. "But I fear they're happening much more frequently than we're aware."

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-- Anh Do in Orange County

Photo: Rusty Kennedy, executive director of the Orange County Human Relations Commission. Credit: Don Kelsen/ Los Angeles Times.

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