Waymon Hudson

The New 'Hate Crimes in Florida' Report

Filed By Waymon Hudson | October 23, 2009 12:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: bisexual, hate crimes against LGBT people, lesbian, transgender

Hate Crimes Report

More info after the jump...

From the Sun-Sentinel:

The number of reported hate crimes in 2008 decreased statewide but surged in South Florida, with the region's three counties accounting for the highest numbers in an annual report released Thursday by the Florida Attorney General's Office.

For a third straight year, Broward County led the state in hate crimes, with 25 reported incidents, a 47 percent jump from 2007.

Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties tied for second, with 18 cases each.

Statewide, 182 hate crimes -- the lowest number in a decade -- were reported by 72 law enforcement agencies, a 5.7 percent decrease from 2007. But while the rest of the state has seen hate-crime totals dip since 2005, South Florida's figures have risen in the past two years.


[Broward] Ten of the county's hate crimes were based on racial discrimination; sexual orientation was a factor in nine. Six were religion-based. A violent act was reported in 16 of the countywide incidents.

These numbers are bad enough, but take into account the fact that hate crimes (especially against LGBT people) are notoriously under-reported and the situation looks even more grim.

Hopefully once the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act goes into effect nationally, Florida can get more resources for reporting, investigating and preventing the surge in hate crimes in our state.

(h/t Steve Rothaus)

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This survey is so spotty as to be almost meaningless. In the Daytona area, for example, the survey includes only hate crimes reported by the Daytona Beach police department and the Flagler County sheriff's office (for a grand total of 8 crimes, only 1 of which was linked to sexual orientation.) We should be asking the other police departments why they aren't participating. Does it take a federal grant to make police do the right thing? And we should make sure the crimes are getting reported, but also recognize that many LGBT people in Florida -- maybe most -- believe their jobs could be jeopardized if they call the cops. That's why we need ENDA as much as the Shepard-Byrd Hate Crimes Act.