Reported hate crimes in California dropped more than 20 percent last year, the AG's office says.
"While the drop in these crimes is encouraging," Attorney General Jerry Brown said in a statement last week, "hate has certainly not been banished from California. The sheer total of incidents motivated by hate is a reminder of how much harder we need to work to overcome prejudice, bigotry and ignorance."
Hate crimes include those motivated by the victim's race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, or physical or mental disability.
Hate crimes dropped from 1,397 cases in 2008 to 1,100 last year. Hate crimes have declined by half since 2001, dropping from 2,261 cases.
There was a decline in anti-black crime (17.7 percent), anti-Jewish crime (13 percent) and anti-gay crime (22.1 percent) - categories accounting for about 60 percent of the state's hate crimes. Though violent offenses accounted for 63.5 percent of all hate crimes in 2009, last year marked the largest year-over-year decline in violent hate crimes (down 22.8 percent) this decade.
A total of 479 hate crime cases were referred to prosecutors in 2009. Of those, 363 criminal cases were filed, 283 as hate crimes. Of the 257 hate crime cases with dispositions in 2009, there were 223 convictions - 131 hate crime convictions and 92 other convictions.
- Stephen Magagnini