More than 1,100 gay Californians were targeted for hate crimes because of their sexual orientation between 2010 and 2014, even as the number of such crimes has fallen in recent years, according to the latest FBI statistics.
The recent mass shooting in Orlando has again focused attention on crimes motivated by bigotry against the LGBT community. Police say gunman Omar Mateen shot and killed 49 people at a gay nightclub early Sunday.
In 2014, California law enforcement agencies reported 187 hate crimes against the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, down from 277 in 2010.
West Hollywood and Palm Springs, two cities with large LGBT populations, had, by far, the highest rates of reported hate crimes against gay people between 2010 and 2014. Those cities were followed by Santa Cruz, Monterey and Davis.
Last month in West Hollywood, a gay man said he was drugged and assaulted after leaving a popular gay bar, according to The Advocate, He woke in a hospital with lacerations and bruises on his face and date rape drugs in his system. In April, another man was assaulted after leaving a gay bar in West Hollywood. His attackers allegedly shouted anti-gay slurs while assaulting him.
The FBI defines a hate crime as a “criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender's bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity.” Hate crimes often carry enhanced penalties upon conviction.
Hate crime reporting can be inconsistent and controversial. Some parts of California and the nation, mainly politically conservative areas, rarely classify any offenses as hate crimes. For example, all of the law enforcement agencies in Mississippi reported just one hate crime in 2014.
This map shows the California cities with the highest reported rates of anti-gay hate crimes between 2010 and 2014.
Sources: FBI, U.S. Census Bureau.