Bucking the national trend, the number of reported hate crimes fell slightly last year in Los Angeles, according to FBI statistics released Monday. In Los Angeles, 211 hate crimes were reported in 2006, compared with 219 the year before. Most were based on race, mirroring national trends. “We are trying to do more education with the community to report more hate crimes,” said LAPD Capt. Ann Young, who oversees a three-person Hate Crime Unit. “I think in certain communities it’s under-reported for fear of retaliation. Many people are still very fearful. We can understand that.” The FBI defines hate crimes as those motivated by biases against a certain race, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity origin or disability. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREStriving toward a more perfect me: Doug McIntyre Nationally, they rose 8percent, but the FBI cautioned that the population also increased, as did the number of police agencies reporting hate crimes. In a report released earlier this year, the Los Angeles County Human Relations Commission found that in the San Fernando Valley area, including Agoura Hills, Burbank, Calabasas, Glendale, Hidden Hills, San Fernando and Westlake Village, there were 137 hate crimes reported to police and other agencies in 2006. But commission Executive Director Robin Toma said it is difficult to draw comparisons between the L.A. area and the rest of the nation since about 17,000 police agencies did not fully participate in the national survey this year. “The thing that stands out, that is clearly a factor, is that there are more agencies that are reporting hate crimes,” he said. “It could have played a role in the number.” There were 7,772 incidents reported nationally last year, about half of which targeted people because of their race. The report comes nearly a year after the city targeted the Canoga Park Alabama gang for its racially motivated attacks on blacks and after several black students in Louisiana, known as the Jena Six, garnered national headlines. The students were charged with attempted second-degree murder in Jena, after they beat a white student who hung a noose on a tree*. Civil-rights activists decried the punishment as overly harsh and the charges were eventually reduced. The Jena jurisdiction did not participate in the FBI survey. “These crimes are different than other crimes because they attack a community,” said Amanda Susskind, regional director for the Anti-Defamation League, which publishes an annual report on anti-Semitic incidents. “Any number of hate crimes is too many. I suppose it not increasing is better than increasing, but it’s not a dramatic decrease.” The Associated Press contributed to this report. For more news and observations about crime in Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley, check out the Daily News’ crime blog by clicking here.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!
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