San Diego Sees A Rise in Hate Crimes Committed By White Suspects

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The City of San Diego has seen a spike in reported hate crimes where police identified the suspects as white males, according to data obtained by NBC 7 Investigates.

The data shows there were eight reported hate crimes committed by suspected white male assailants, the highest number in San Diego since 2015 when there were nine crimes reported to the police.

According to the data obtained by NBC 7, African Americans were the target of most of the hate crimes by white males. In 2018, five African Americans reported they were a victim of a hate crime to San Diego Police where the suspect was identified as white. It was the highest number recorded since 2015 when seven African Americans were victims of a hate crime by a white suspect.

“San Diego is good at criminalizing black people the data proves it,” says social advocate and mayoral candidate Tasha Williamson. “They, however, are not good at dealing with racism. Racism as a whole is passed down from generation to generation.”

Williamson says San Diego Police Department has directed attention at “gangs and black people” but the department “has not done a great job of dealing with racism.”

Added Williamson, “There are far more incidents than are reported. Racism is something that is entrenched in every system in San Diego so it will be very difficult, however, not impossible, to reduce hate crimes.”

An increase in racially motivated hate crimes has been seen county-wide as well as nationally.

In San Diego County, race is the biggest motivator in regards to hate crimes, making up, according to data from the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office, 53 and 60 percent of all hate crimes reported.

“African Americans are overwhelmingly victimized, consistently making up more than half of race-based, hate-crime victims even though they make up only eight percent of the state population,” according to a study released by the District Attorney. 

The local data matches data in a recent study by the University of Washington which found that Black and Hispanic people have a higher risk of becoming victim to race-motivated crimes.

“Model estimates of victimization for Blacks ranged from 30 to 40 percent higher, and 10 to 60 percent higher for Hispanics,” reads the study from the University of Washington. “These crimes against Blacks tended to be more violent, usually involving a weapon or firearm, and resulted in higher rates of injuries and medical care compared to other races and ethnic groups.”

In San Diego, however, 40 victims of hate crimes were treated at the scene. Of the 29 racially-motivated crimes where victims identified a white suspect or suspects, 12 resulted in an injury of some type. Hands and feet were listed as weapons in eight out of 12 of those incidents which resulted in some medical treatment. One incident the assailant used a dog as their weapon, another used a golf club, and one person used a knife.