California hate crimes: Who’s being targeted?

Hate crimes were up in California in 2020, a year marked by lockdown orders but also a spate of nationally-reported incidents of anti-Asian bias. 

In 2020, 1,530 hate crimes were reported in California. Of those, 1,030 were rooted in racial bias. 

Nearly 70% of hate crimes reported as “closed” in 2020 were violent crimes. Of those, most were intimidation, simple assault or aggravated assault. 

Of all hate crimes reported as “closed” in 2020, the majority — 67% — were directed against someone’s race, ethnicity or national origin. 

And of those crimes committed against racial and ethnic groups, the highest number of victims per capita were Black and Jewish people. 

Anti-Asian bias was the primary factor in 7% of those crimes. Asians make up 15% of Californians. 

By contrast, anti-Black bias was the primary factor in 33% of all hate crimes in 2020. Black people make up just 6.5% of California’s population, according to 2021 estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau. 

Among hate crimes directed at someone’s race or ethnicity, Black people made up 50% of victims.

According to the 2020 American Jewish Population Estimate from Brandeis University, 1.17 million Jewish people live  in California. The same year,  120 anti-Jewish hate crimes were reported, according to the California Department of Justice.