L.A. City Council Passes Legislation Addressing Hate Crimes

February 4, 2020
Photo from Pixabay.

The Los Angeles City Council passed legislation on Feb. 4 aimed at preventing hate crimes in the city.

According to a press release from City Councilmember David Ryu’s office, the legislation directs the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) to establish a hotline to prevent hate crimes and a central method of communication for law enforcement to coordinate responses to hate crimes. It also directs the LAPD to “protect vulnerable institutions like synagogues, mosques and cultural centers.”

The passed legislation comes after the LAPD released data on Jan. 22 showing that anti-Semitic hate crimes rose by 60.5% from 2018 to 2019; hate crimes overall increased 10.3% over the same timeframe.

“Our focus must be turned towards the future, which includes a multi-pronged approach,” City Councilmember Paul Koretz said in a statement. “The first is shoring up physical infrastructure security at institutions. The second is closing the gap of communication with law enforcement and relevant agencies. The third is educating our community on a regular basis on how to report acts of hate and take action.”

He added: “We must combat hate wherever it rears its ugly head, and fight for more funding for hate crime prevention.”

Anti-Defamation League Los Angeles tweeted, “We applaud @LACityCouncil
@davideryu for taking swift action following @LAPDHQ recent release of 2019 hate crime statistics. We look forward to continuing to work with city officials & our coalition partners to fight this troubling increase in hate crimes.”

American Jewish Committee Los Angeles Regional Director Richard S. Hirschhaut praised Ryu, Koretz, City Councilmember Bob Blumenfeld and the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles in their efforts in getting the bill passed.

“The continuing epidemic of anti-Semitism and hate crime across Los Angeles calls for exactly the sort of unified communal response that we witnessed today in the city council chambers,” Hirschhaut said in a phone interview with the Journal.

Ryu said in a statement that the bill’s passage shows that Los Angeles is standing up to the rising hate crimes throughout the country.

“We will not give in to fear or cynicism,” Ryu said. “We will not accept this as the new normal. We will stand together, across communities and across neighborhoods, as one of the most diverse cities on Earth and make Los Angeles a national leader in hate crime prevention. This legislation is the first step in ensuring that our city is prepared and our communities are protected.”

On Jan. 22, Ryu introduced a resolution calling on Los Angeles to unite against anti-Semitism and urging the FBI to establish a task force dedicated to fighting anti-Semitism.

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