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Open Access Publications from the University of California

A Profile of Race-bias Hate Crimes in Los Angeles County


Heralded as the model multicultural global city of the future in the 1980s, Los Angeles was suddenly seen as the hotbed of civil unrest in 1992. This shift in image, whether accurate or not, has prompted many to wonder what has taken place in Los Angeles over the past twenty years in regards to the problem of racial conflict. Hate crime reports provide one source of data that is regularly collected over time and is also location specific. Though these data are problematic, hate incidents are an extremely useful measure as part of a fuller study of race relations. This paper provides a profile of the problem of hate crime in Los Angeles County using hate crime data collected between 1994 and 1997. Geographic information systems (GIS) technology is used to identify clusters. We then analyze clusters to develop a profile of race-bias hate crimes for the county. We conclude with a discussion of the use of hate crime data in the study of racial conflict and outline directions for future research.

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