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Attorney General Rob Bonta joins Bakersfield leaders in fight against hate crimes

Bonta says the state currently has the highest number of hate crimes since September 11, 2001, and says now is the time to rise above hate.
Posted: 5:40 PM, Jun 02, 2023
Updated: 2023-06-03 00:04:32-04
Hate Crimes (FILE)

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — The frequency of reported hate crimes is on the rise. To help combat this, California Attorney General Rob Bonta held round table discussions with local leaders across the state to find solutions.

Bonta says the state currently has the highest number of hate crimes since September 11, 2001, and says now is the time to rise above hate.

“Anti-Latino hate crimes increased by 29 percent. Crimes motivated by sexual orientation rose by nearly 48 percent. Crimes motivated by antisemitism rose 32. So the common theme is the hate crimes are rising.”

According to the 2021 California Hate Crime Report, a hate crime is defined as “a criminal act committed, in whole or in part, because of one or more of the following actual or perceived characteristics of the victim: (1) disability, (2) gender, (3) nationality, (4) race or ethnicity, (5) religion, (6) sexual orientation, (7) association with a person or group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics.”

Looking at the numbers locally, Sgt. Robert Pair with the Bakersfield Police Department says the city had one reported hate crime so far this year involving racial violence. In 2022, Bakersfield saw five reported hate crimes with two of those targeting sexual orientation and three cases targeting race with one black, white, and Indian victim.

2021 had seven reported hate crimes with one targeting sexual orientation and six targeting race, with one white victim, three black victims, one Hispanic victim, and one Indian victim.

Bonta says the way to combat these crimes is to counteract the hate by joining forces with community members.

“The solution to hate is the opposite of hate and celebrating our beautiful diversity and inclusion and sense of belonging with events you know where we come together where we uplift our diverse communities.”

Bonta says out of all the round table conferences he's been to, the one in Bakersfield has been the most insightful and wise and appreciated the number of solutions brought up by other panel members and says he is optimistic about progress on this issue.


Though hate crimes are not common in California they are not unheard of.

According to the most recent numbers released by the attorney general's office in 2021 hate crimes committed in California rose by nearly 30 percent from 2020.

Reported hate crimes targeting black people were most prevalent increasing by 12.5 percent since 2020.

And since the pandemic began reports of hate crimes against Asian-Americans have increased by 177 percent.

Since then Governor Gavin Newsom has allocated more than $30 million in funding to hate crime prevention throughout the state.