The number of bias-related incidents — crimes or confrontations motivated by hate — grew dramatically in Sacramento during the first half of 2021, the latest police data show.
Sacramento Police responded to 72 reports of bias-related incidents during the first six months of 2021, compared to 29 during the first six months of 2020 and 13 during the first six months of 2019.
The 2021 incidents included:
▪ A drive-by shooting targeting an Asian-owned business on El Camino Avenue.
▪ A suspect tearing down and burning a pride flag outside a Midtown church.
▪ A swastika scratched into the paint of a car near Natomas.
▪ Anti-Asian slurs scratched into the paint of a different car parked downtown.
▪ The tires of several vehicles slashed at homes with “Black Lives Matter” signs along T Street in the Med Center and Elmhurst neighborhoods.
Sacramento Police Officer Ryan Woo said the department has not identified a reason for the increase in reports of bias-related incidents. He noted that not all of the incidents would rise to the level of a hate crime and that some may lack sufficient evidence for a criminal complaint.
Woo said Sacramento Police have recently worked with community organizations and businesses to create a “Safe Space” program that encourages victims to report bias-related incidents.
It’s not clear from the police data whether the rise in reports reflects an actual increase of incidents or an increase in the willingness of victims to make a report.
Fifty of the 72 reported incidents were allegedly motivated by racial hatred, police data show. Thirteen were motivated by hatred based on sexual orientation. Five were based on hatred of a particular religion. The remaining four were motivated by more than one bias.
Bias-related incidents during the first six months of 2021 were most concentrated in downtown Sacramento. But just about every part of the city had at least a few incidents.