Nazi propaganda was distributed in Visalia and Hanford recently, Nazi swastikas have appeared in Fresno and the California Department of Justice (DOJ) reports that hate crimes are on the rise in the state. The literature dropped in Visalia and Hanford in July and August was an attempt to recruit residents in their cause of racial and religious hatred.
According to the DOJ, in the past 10 years, hate crime events have increased 145.7%. That is just the reported events. There is no way of calculating how many hate crimes and incidents have gone unreported.
That is why Efrain Botello-Cisneros, with the DOJ, speaking at a recent Stop the Hate town hall, said that if you are a victim of a hate crime, you are urged to
- Contact the local law enforcement agency right away.
- Get medical attention (if you need it).
- Write down the exact words that were said.
- Make notes about any other facts.
- Save all evidence (e.g., graffiti, eggshells, writing on the victim’s vehicle). If safe, wait until law enforcement arrives and takes photos.
- Get the names, addresses, phone numbers and e-mails of other victims and witnesses.
- Try to get a description from any eyewitnesses of the criminal or the vehicle.
- Contact community organizations in your area that respond to hate crimes.
The incident in Hanford was reported to the police and, according to the Hanford Sentinel, is under investigation. Police are asking anyone with information about who distributed the flyers to contact the Hanford Police Department at 559-585-2540.
Hanford Police Chief Parker Sever said the department received information that the group distributed the flyers while driving a dark-colored sedan slowly through neighborhoods during the middle of the night and tossing bags out the window of the vehicle.
The Sun-Gazette, reporting on the Visalia incident, wrote that “residents found flyers for a white supremacist group on their driveways over the weekend of July 8. The flyers, which were weighted down with rocks and placed in plastic bags, appeared in a neighborhood northwest of Walnut Avenue and Lovers Lane in Visalia.”
The Visalia police did not respond to a request for a comment before we went to press.
The Community Alliance newspaper has been able to expand its coverage of hate crimes and incidents because of funding provided by the State of California, administered by the California State Library in partnership with the California Department of Social Services and the California Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander American Affairs as part of the Stop the Hate program. This paper is affiliated with the San Joaquin Valley Media Alliance, which is a 501(c))(3) nonprofit and recipient of the Stop the Hate grant.
To report a hate incident or a hate crime and get support, visit cavshate.org/.