Orange County's Annual Hate Crime Report is Totally Gay (as in Being Increasingly Victimized)

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The Orange County Human Relations Commission issued an annual report this morning that finds "violent" hate crimes against gays and lesbians nearly doubled here from 2011 to 2012 but, overall, hatin' is down.

Rusty Kennedy, the commission's longtime executive director, says the uptick in crimes against members of the LGBT community--from 7 to 13--"is of special concern'' and no one is quite sure what spurred the uptick.

Keep in mind, also, that these are reported crimes and the actual number are likely significantly higher.

The "rapid change that the nation seems to be going through in attitudes about gay marriage'' could be motivating "people on the fringes'' to commit anti-gay violence, Kennedy surmised.

Hate crimes against gays and lesbians dropped in 2008, the year California voters approved Prop. 8, but it went up again in 2009, Kennedy noted.

Overall, reported hate crimes went up from 56 in 2010 to 78 in 2011--a 40 percent increase--but there were 61 in 2012, a 21 percent drop. Twenty-two of the 2012 hate crimes were motivated by race or ethnicity. The latest report actually corrected a statistical error from 2011, when 64 hate crimes were originally included. Since then, 14 more from 2011 have been documented.

The latest figures show hate crimes against blacks, Latinos, those of Arabic descent or were motivated by religious bigotry dropped in 2012 from 2011. The decline in hate crimes against Latinos is part of a six-year downward trends, while the drop in those against Arabs has been going on the past three years.

Email: mcoker@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @MatthewTCoker. Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!



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