SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California is underreporting hate crimes to the FBI, state lawmakers and the public because local law enforcement agencies lack adequate policies and training, state auditors said Thursday.
The audit largely blames the state Department of Justice, which oversees the data collection, for not requiring that local agencies do a better job.
Even with the under-counting, reported hate crimes in California increased by more than 20 percent from 2014 to 2016, from 758 to 931. Hate crimes are defined as those targeting victims because of their race or ethnicity, nationality, religion, sexual orientation, gender, or a disability.
Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who oversees the department and is running to retain the office in next week's primary election, announced shortly after the audit's release that he has provided more guidance for local law enforcement and created a new hate crimes prevention webpage and brochure on identifying and reporting hate crimes.
The auditors found that a "lack of proactive guidance and oversight from DOJ has contributed to the underreporting and misreporting of hate crime information."
Auditors found problems with hate crime policies at all four agencies they reviewed, including the Los Angeles Police Department, Orange County Sheriff's Department, Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department and the San Francisco State University Police Department. The four agencies combined underreported hate crimes by about 14 percent, or a total of 97 hate crimes.
Most of the underreporting was by the LAPD, which objected to some of the findings and said it already has new policies and procedures to comply with auditors' recommendations. Of 622 hate crimes identified by the LAPD from 2014-2016, auditors found that 89 were not reported to the state.
The four departments together misidentified another dozen cases that auditors said should have been reported as hate crimes.
Another 36 apparent hate crimes were not reported by various university police agencies, auditors found.
Hate crimes are also underreported because nearly a third of the 245 law enforcement agencies surveyed by auditors do nothing to encourage the public to report hate crimes.
That adds to a national underreporting problem: Federal authorities estimate that more than half of all hate crimes aren't reported to police.
Auditors found that San Francisco State University police needed to update their outdated definition of hate crimes, while the two sheriff's departments should give patrol officers forms that help characterize hate crimes.
Agencies should also provide periodic refresher hate crime training to officers and more community outreach encouraging reporting of hate crimes, auditors said.
Warm weather is expected to return to San Diego this week peaking around the mid-week point. Temps should cool again by next weekend.
Two San Diego police officers were shot and wounded in a standoff at a College Area condominium that left the suspect dead late Saturday night.
Investigators were trying to reconstruct an accident scene in Encinitas on Sunday after a man riding a motorcycle was killed in a collision.
A man was found dead under suspicious circumstances in a Vista apartment early Sunday, and homicide detectives were investigating, sheriff's deputies said.
Hundreds of statewide faith leaders will march Saturday afternoon to the Otay Mesa Detention Center, where they will protest immigration policies that separated more than 2,300 children from their parents.
A 325-acre blaze burning at Camp Pendleton Saturday was described as a ``training fire'' by a base official.
The average price of a gallon of self-serve regular gasoline in San Diego County dropped today for the 16th consecutive day, decreasing nine-tenths of a cent to $3.697.
A crash on an Oceanside freeway Saturday morning left two cars on their roofs and sent one person to a hospital, a fire official
A stretch of road in National City was shut down briefly after a large crowd took to the streets to celebrate the Mexico national soccer team's 2-1 victory over South Korea today in the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
The San Diego Humane Society today urged residents to volunteer their homes as foster spaces for the influx of animals typically lost after Fourth of July.