SOME HATE CRIMES ON THE DECREASE, SOME ON THE INCREASE
by Rob Akers
Hate crime against members of the LGBT community in San Francisco showed a slight decrease with most documented instances shifting from the Mission to the Castro District during 2005, according to information released by Community United Against Violence last week.
On a national level, we still do not have federal hate crimes laws that protect our LGBT communities," D'Elia said during a news conference held Friday, April 28, which featured several speakers, including hate crime survivors and family members.
There were 322 incidents of LGBT hate violence in the San Francisco Bay Area last year, a 5 percent decrease from the total of 340 cases in 2004. Nationally, the total number of incidents fell 12 percent.
A total 53 instances of hate crime was reported in the Castro District in 2005, the highest number in the city. Fourteen of those incidents occurred on Halloween. This compares to only one case reported during Halloween 2004.
Locally, males remain the largest category of victims, up from 177 in 2004 to 185 in 2005. There was a slight increase in females reporting, from 93 in 2004 to 95 in 2005. Transgenders reporting in 2005 totaled 55, of those 47 are male to female victims.
The only racial/ethnic group in the Bay Area to show an increase in reporting was Latinos, with 55 incidents, a 20 percent increase from 2004.
Nationally, reporting increased 37 percent for people of Arab/Middle Eastern descent and by 18 percent for indigenous people.
Reporting by Bay Area youth under the age of 18 increased 100 percent while cases involving youth 18 to 22 years decreased by 48 percent. Overall, San Francisco showed a 28 percent decline in youth victimization.
For three years previous to 2005, incidents of harassment and violence perpetrated by Bay Area police and other law enforcement professionals had been steadily decreasing. Overall, cases decreased from 27 in 2004 to 22 in 2005, but statistics show more officers were inclined to be involved per incident. A total of 82 officers were alleged offenders in 2005, up from 27 in 2004. Potentially connected to this increase, victims reporting incidents to police dropped 20 percent.
Tamara Costa, CUAV's love and justice youth organizer, reported a need for youth specific resources in the Bay Area to improve reporting. She called preliminary findings "appalling" and said a survey of LGBT youth would be finalized by this fall.