In the wake of an FBI report showing a dramatic increase in the number of hate crimes reported in San Diego and nationwide, U.S. Attorney Adam Braverman announced Monday that a second “Stop the Hate” community forum will be held in Balboa Park next week.
The San Diego Regional Hate Crimes Coalition forum on Nov. 28 will be open to the public and will include panels of prosecutors explaining legal rights and resources, community leaders discussing hate incidents and bullying, and victim-witness coordinators from state and federal agencies providing information for victims of hate incidents and crimes.
“Hatred and violence on the basis of race, religion and sexual orientation have no place in our nation,” said Braverman, who heads the Southern District of California, which includes San Diego and Imperial counties.
“The United States has been a ‘shining city upon a hill’ because Americans appreciate that diversity makes us stronger as a people,” the region’s top federal prosecutor said in a prepared statement. “Today, we mark the 155th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address and are reminded that we still have unfinished work. We will neither tolerate nor accept the actions of those who seek to weaken our bonds. We remain steadfast in our commitment to prosecuting those that commit crimes motivated by hate.”
San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan said bringing justice to hate crime victims is a priority for her office, as well.
“Hate crimes are particularly hurtful in that they target vulnerable people who have historically suffered from prejudice and they cause a ripple effect of fear and anguish within entire communities around the victim,” Stephan said in a statement. “Through our hate crimes prosecutors and victim advocates, we stand ready to support and protect victims of hate crimes and to hold their abusers accountable.”
According to the Uniform Crime Reporting Program‘s annual Hate Crimes Statistics report, law enforcement agencies reported double-digit increases nationally in hate incidents in 2017 compared to 2016 — a year-over-year jump of 17 percent nationwide and 15 percent in San Diego.
Compiling data from a newly increased number of reporting agencies nationwide, the UCR statistics also show a consistent increase in reported incidents in San Diego.
In 2016, 35 hate crimes were reported in San Diego, including 16 incidents motivated by race, ethnicity or ancestry, and seven motivated by religion. The number rose to 41 in 2017, with race incidents increasing to 17 and incidents motivated by religion climbing to 12. A dozen incidents motivated by sexual orientation or gender were reported in both 2016 and 2017.
Outside of the city, the number of reported incidents in San Diego County slightly decreased from 18 (13 motivated by race, ethnicity or ancestry; one motivated by religion; four motivated by sexual orientation) in 2016 to 14 (seven motivated by race, ethnicity or ancestry; none motivated by religion; seven motivated by sexual orientation) in 2017.
— City News Service