Anti-Asian hate incidents up 1,800% in Orange County

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A person holds a sign that says #StopAsianHate. “What’s shocking people right now is just the incredible rise in hate crimes and hate incidents against Asian Americans, a significant minority in Orange County,” says LA Times columnist Gustavo Arellano. Photo by Shutterstock.

Hate crimes targeting Asian Americans are up in Orange County, following a trend seen across the United States. OC police documented 112 hate crimes in 2020, a 35% increase from 2019. That’s according to a new report from the Orange County Human Relations Commission.

They also reported 263 hate incidents, an increase of 69% compared to 2019. Hate incidents are defined as hate-motivated attacks that do not rise to the level of a crime. Of those cases, there was a 23% increase motivated by anti-Black hate, a 114% increase in anti-Semitic hate, and a 1,800% increase motivated by anti-Asian hate.

“Sadly, hate crimes against Jews and Blacks are not surprising in Orange County,” says LA Times columnist Gustavo Arellano. “What’s shocking people right now is just the incredible rise in hate crimes and hate incidents against Asian Americans, a significant minority in Orange County.”

Usually, four to five hate incidents against Asians and Asian Americans are reported in Orange County each year. In 2020, the Human Relations Commission logged 76 incidents. Arellano attributes the sharp rise to anti-Asian sentiment surrounding COVID-19 and its origins in China.

“We live in an era where there's just so much vitriol online, which spills over to real life,” says Arellano. “You had an election in 2020 that wasn't exactly the kindest of elections. So it's just a perfect maelstrom to have more and more Anti-Asian hate incidents and hate crimes to exponentially grow in Orange County.”

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