Skip to content

Hate crimes at all time high throughout the nation


Why is there so little prosecution?

Hate crimes have run rampant in California for the last two years now, and the public is wondering why criminals still can walk the streets with the innocent scouring for their next victim. California Attorney General Rob Bonta explains in a meeting why it's hard to get a conviction for hate crimes. 

Speaking to Ethnic Media Services here on the sidelines of the United Against Hate summit at Fresno City College, Bonta noted that hate crimes are notoriously difficult to prosecute. “They require proof of intent. By design, a hate crime must originate with the hate element, which is often difficult to establish,” he said.

“Hate crimes are an augmentation of sentencing: it is seen as something additional. You’re already charging assault or battery,” said Bonta, noting that a successful hate crime conviction might add 2 to 5 years to a sentence. He urged victims of a hate crime to gather up as much evidence as possible and to get details.

Last year, Bonta released a hate crime report for the year 2022, which showed a low conviction rate and broke down how hate crimes are charged. Hate crimes increased by 20%, rising from 1,763 in 2021 to 2,120 in 2022. Hate crimes targeting Black people remained the most prevalent and increased by 27.1% from 513 in 2021 to 652 in 2022, while anti-Asian hate crime events decreased by 43.3% from 247 in 2021 to 140 in 2022.

Hate crimes in California involving a sexual orientation bias increased by 29%, from 303 in 2021 to 391 in 2022.

But of the over 2,100 hate crimes reported in the state, only 52 resulted in hate crime convictions.

The majority of hate crimes reported never made it to court: just 456 cases were filed by district and elected city attorneys, according to the report.

During the meeting, Bonta also brought up the Israel-Hamas war that now includes Iran among other nations, stating, "It's affecting us over here." This is true as protests and hate speech on both sides have frequently happened. 

Distrust of police was also a matter that was discussed at the summit as Mike Rhodes, executive director of the Community Alliance, told EMS that Fresno and neighboring cities were rife with hate activity, much of which is unreported.“A lot of people here don’t trust the police,” said Rhodes, adding that when hate crimes and incidents are reported they often go unnoticed. The Fresno Police Department did set up an information table at the event.

Brooks, a Black man also detailed his experience with police officers that has led him to have distrust in them. “ I was hobbling to the store. Within a couple of minutes, the police stopped me, shined a light in my face, and asked a bunch of questions,” he said. “When I got to the store, I was stopped by two more cops, who again questioned me and then checked out my answers against the ones I had given the other cops.” Brooks continued that he was questioned a third time on his way home and was accused of being a suspect in a crime he never received any information about.