Within that category, hate crimes against gay men dropped from 111 in 2011 to 88 last year. But there were 77 crimes targeting gay men in 2003, making that category the only one to show an increase in the 10-year comparison.
Those involving a victim's religion dropped nearly 28 percent last year, from 201 in 2011 to 145 in 2012. Jews were once again the most common target.
The reports are submitted to the attorney general's office by California law enforcement agencies and district attorney's offices.
"While overall numbers are down this year, any hate crime hurts the people and values of California," Attorney General Kamala Harris said in a statement.
The report comes as officials are investigating four white students accused of harassing a black student at San Jose State University. They face misdemeanor hate crime and battery charges alleging they taunted their freshman dorm-mate with racial slurs, displayed a Confederate flag in the dorm suite, placed a U-shaped bicycle lock around his neck and barricaded him inside his room.