"Clearly, we have entered a new and frightening era for anti-LGBT violence."
According to NCAVP representatives, the data collected in for 2004 confirms that a dramatic rise in anti-LGBT hate incidents noted by the organization in the second half of 2003 continued unabated, and perhaps even worsened in throughout 2004.
“This year’s report has to be viewed as a follow-up to our report from a year ago,” said Clarence Patton, NCAVP’s Acting Executive Director. “In the last edition of this report it became all too clear that with respect to violence, the nation's LGBT communities had entered a very new, and very dangerous era in which all of us were under attack at levels not seen in recent years," continued Patton.
"The leaders of America's anti-gay industry are directly responsible for the continuing surge in hate violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. While other forms of crime continued to fall, the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs has documented a 4% increase in anti-LGBT crime in 2004, coming on the heels of a 26% increase in the last half of 2003. This spike in violence parallels the exact same period since the Right went into demonic, anti-gay hyperdrive following the Supreme Court's Lawrence v. Texas decision in July of 2003. Since then, church pews and the public airwaves have been awash in ugly, anti-gay rhetoric and fear-mongering.
"These words obviously do not just vanish into the ether - as intended, they are absorbed and become fuel and justification for violence. To say otherwise defies reality.
The literal blood of the thousands of gay people physically wounded by hate during 2004 is on the hands of Jerry Falwell, James Dobson, Tony Perkins, and so many others who spew hate for partisan gain and personal enrichment."
Excerpt from EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
NCAVP Bias Crime Report, 2004
Note: The full report is available for download here.
PDF File, 181K
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Highlights of Findings The total number of anti-LGBT incidents reported to NCAVP increased 4% last year, from 1,720 incidents in 2002 to 1,792 incidents in 2004. The number of victims tracked by NCAVP member programs also rose 4%, from 2,042 in 2003 to 2,131 in 20043.
In the continuation of a trend that started with the 2003 edition of this report, the number of offenders (which had remained stable or actually declined in previous years) rose by 7% from 2,467 in 2003 to 2,637 in 2004 - a rate almost twice as high as either victims or incidents.
The ongoing move away from fewer and fewer perpetrators involved in anti-LGBT incidents is perhaps one of the most distressing findings of this report. It signals a truly retrograde environment in which years of progress resulting in fewer people willing to violently act out anti-LGBT bias has been substantially reversed. With respect to hate related violence, we are in fact "back to the future."
Seven of this year's reporting locations showed modest to significant increases in reported incidents: Chicago (+16), Colorado (+3%), Columbus (+3), Massachusetts (+30%), Michigan (+4%), Minnesota (+71%), and San Francisco (+7%). Areas with decreases in reporting were Cleveland (-71%), New York (-2%) and Pennsylvania (-13%). Houston reported the same number of incidents in both 2003 and 2004.
The mean rate of increase among agencies reporting growth in the number of incidents was 19%, while the mean rate of decrease among those reporting a decline was 29%. Adjusted mean rates (removing both relatively over-increasing Minnesota and over-decreasing Cleveland) were +11% and -13%. The mean rate of change overall was +4%, with an adjusted mean rate of change overall of +5%.
The overall trend upward in the number of incidents and offenders, analysis of locations with decreases and the reasons for these changes will be the primary issues reviewed and discussed in this report.
As always, there are mixed conclusions that can be drawn from the data submitted this year. However, the political, social and cultural dynamics that began to profoundly affect anti-LGBT violence and most member programs in the latter half of 2003 clearly continued through 2004.
Regardless of whether or not a region charted increases in reports or decreases, overriding concerns expressed by reporting agencies were the twin challenges of continued insufficient levels of funding and other resources and responding to anti-LGBT violence effectively and appropriately with the LGBT community under attack at levels unseen in years.
Notable trends in the incident data collected for 2004 included significant increases in assaults with weapons (14%), harassment (13%), a the number of incidents perpetrated by organized hate groups (273%), the number of LGBT organizations targeted for incidents during the year - 67, a 92% increase over 2003 and a not coincidental 50% rise in the number of cases of vandalism and 200% rise in cases of arson.
In looking at the 14% rise in weapons use, there were increases in every category of weapon for which NCAVP collects data.
Large increases were found in the use of vehicles in the commission of incidents (60%), as well as the use of bats, clubs and other blunt objects (21%), and weapons designated as "other" (60%).
While injuries overall declined 2%, that decline was mostly a result of a 15% decrease in minor injuries suffered by victims. At the same time however, the number of victims who sustained serious injuries actually rose 20%. This rise is not surprising given the rise in all forms of weapons use. In other related data, the number of victims requiring some period of in-patient hospitalization rose 23%. Reports of incidents involving rape or sexual assault however, fell 7%.
Unfortunately, the number of murders in the 2004 reporting regions continued to rise, from 18 in 2003 to 20 in 2004 (11%).
In looking more in-depth at victim-related data collected for 2004, it was also found that the number of people of transgender experience reporting incidents decreased (11%) for the first time in recent memory. Though this decline could be viewed as a positive trend, there is anecdotal evidence to suggest that it may in fact be an unfortunate byproduct of the transgender community's attempt to remain "under the radar" while lesbians and gay men and same-sex marriage becamesuch targets during 2004 in general and the federal election cycle in particular.
Note: In 2003 NCAVP's members began to use a new data collection tool. The most significant changes in this new tool were in the age categories for both victims and offenders. The programs contributing data to this report have not all completed the transition to this new collection tool. Therefore, the age categories included in this report represent categories used in both the older data collection tool and the newer one. Because of this continuing transition, this report utilizes analysis from groups of age categories as opposed to looking at each age category singularly.
The number of victims under the age of 30 reporting incidents rose a significant 17%. At the same time those under the age of 18 rose 8%. Victims between the ages of 30 and 49 decreased 3%. And incidents involving victims between the ages of 50 and 59 rose 25%. Most significantly, the number of older victims (those age of 60), though still representing only 2% of all victims rose 63%. Most local anti-violence programs will readily identify the senior community as both a community in desperate need of their services, and a community for whom they have yet to tailor outreach and staffing to encourage them to access those services.
With respect to the racial and ethnic identity of victims, with the exception of a sizeable increase in the number of victims identifying as multiracial (+70%) primarily from data submitted by Colorado and a 6% increase in the number of victims who identified as being white, there were few significant changes.
As for the gender profile of victims of anti-LGBT violence in 2004, there were few substantive changes. Fifty-four percent (54%) of victims identified as being male and 26% identified as being female. Ten percent (10%) were of transgender experience - a decline of 3% from 2003 when victims of transgender experience represented 13% of all victims. Three percent (3%) of victims were organizations.
Lesbians and gay men clearly represent a plurality of those reporting incidents to participating programs. They represent 66% of all victims. Despite a 90% increase in victims that identified as being bisexual, they continue to represent only 3% of victims. Those questioning or unsure of their sexual orientation and those with a self-identified orientation each comprised 1% of victims, and those with a sexual orientation that remained unknown comprised 17% of victims.
Previous editions of this report have noted an ongoing increase in the number of victims of anti-LGBT violence who identify as heterosexual. While this trend did not reverse itself in 2004, it did appear to level-off. In both 2003 and 2004, there were 192 victims of anti-LGBT violence that identified as being heterosexual, and in both reporting periods they comprised 9% of all victims.
As noted in earlier discussions of this trend, a portion of these victims are people of transgender experience who identify as heterosexual, but additional information indicates that the majority of these victims are simply heterosexual men and women who are thought to be gay men or lesbians by their attackers. Perpetrators seldom differentiate between sexual orientation and gender identity in the bias-motivation for their attacks, but regard the two as identical for their purposes.
It was mentioned earlier in this section that NCAVP member organizations began capturing data on a revised data collection tool in 2003, and a number of programs contributing data to this report have yet to make the transition to that revised tool. It was also noted earlier that those revisions primarily impacted data on the age of victims and offenders.
Nevertheless, despite resulting divergence in age data collected by participating programs this year, as with victim age data, useful information, can be gleaned from the data.
Unlike the ongoing rise in young victims, the number of youthful offenders showed a marked decline of 13% for those under the age of 18, as well as a 13% decline in offenders between the ages of 18 and 29. Offenders in these age groups went from 37% of all offenders in 2003 to 30% in 2004. It is worth noting however that the number of offenders identified as being under the age of 14 increased twofold from only 10 in 2003 to 30 in 2004.
Though there was a general decline in the number of young offenders, there were significant increases in other offender age categories. For instance, offenders between the ages of 30 and 49 increased 15%; those aged 50 to 59 rose 160% (though they still represent a small proportion of all offenders). Finally, those offenders over 60 years of age rose 70%, though these also comprise a very small proportion of offenders.
There were a number of notable changes in the race and ethnicity of offenders in 2004. As a category, whites continue to make up the largest group of offenders (26%), and the overall number of white offenders rose 17% in 2004.
In the next two largest categories - African-American and Latino/a offenders, there were notable decreases. The number of African-American offenders fell 15%, and in 2004 comprised only 15% of all offenders, down from 19% in 2003. At the same time, the number of Latino/a offenders fell 16%, and they comprise 10% of all offenders, down from 13% in 2003.
There were increases in most categories used to determine the relationship of offenders to victims. The most dramatic of these increases were found among those identified as acquaintances or friends (56%), employers or co-workers (36%), security force personnel or 'bouncers' (20%, relatives and family members (19%), and strangers (15%).
Significant declines were shown in offenders whose relationship to victims was unknown (33%), as well as those classified as 'other' (27%), service providers (17%), and law enforcement personnel (17%).
The 17% fall in law enforcement personnel who were offenders was coupled with a dramatic rise in victim engagement with law enforcement. The number of victims choosing to report incidents to law enforcement rose by 20% in 2004.
There was other positive data associated with law enforcement response to LGBT hate-violence victims in 2004. For instance, the number of cases in which a complaint was taken by law enforcement and an arrest was made rose 15%. Arrests were made in just under a quarter (23%) of all cases reported to law enforcement. There was also a 30% rise in the number of cases that received a bias classification from law enforcement agencies, and a 15% decline in cases in which such classification was refused.
Continuing some of the good news, the number of victims who rated the response of law enforcement personnel as 'courteous,' rose 56% and were 54% of all cases in 2004 - an historic high for this rating. Nonetheless, there was also an 8% increase in the number of victims rating law enforcement response as 'indifferent.'
Declines were found in all data categories used to capture potential misconduct by law enforcement personnel, except for that of instances in which officers were verbally abusive and used anti-LGBT slurs. These such cases of misconduct rose 8%. At the same time, all cases of physical abuse fell 52%; verbal abuse without the use of slurs declined 3%, though the significant rise in verbal abuse in which law enforcement used slurs caused verbal abuse overall to rise 2%.
TOTAL INCIDENTS +4%
Assault w/Weapons +14%
Att. assault w/Weapons -30%
Assault w/Out Weapons -18%
Total assault/attempted assault -8%
Sexual Assault/Rape -7%
Bomb threat/Bombing +100%
Illegal Eviction +18%
Police Entrapment -77%
Unjustified Arrest -56%
Police Raid -63%
Incidents involving weapons 2003 12%
Incidents involving weapons 2004 15%
Bats, clubs, other blunt obj. +21%
Bottles, bricks & rocks +15%
Knives & other sharp obj. +9%
Ropes & other restraints +29%
Other weapons +100%
Police precinct or jail -10%
Private residencees +14%
Public transportation N/C
Streets or other public areas -1%
Public Accomodations +2%
Cruising Areas -62%
Schools or Colleges -12%
GLBTH institutions +271%
In, around GLBT bar -19%
In, around GLBTH events +75%
Other locations +40%
TOTAL VICTIMS +4%
Transgender F-M -27%
Transgender M-F -8%
Lesbian or Gay-Identified +3%
Questioning or Unsure -30%
African Descent -5%
Arab & Middle Eastern +9%
Asian & Pacific Islander +2%
Indigenous/First Peoples -33%
Extent of Injuries:
No injuries +24%
Minor injuries -15%
Serious injuries +20%
Of Victims Injured:
No medical attention req. +29%
Needed, but not received -4%
Outpatient treatment received N/C
TOTAL OFFENDERS +7%
African Descent -15%
Arab/Middle Eastern +53%
Asian & Pacific Islander +215%
Indigenous/First Peoples -40%
Latina/o - 16%
Relationship of Offenders to Victims
Acquaintances or friends +56%
Employers or co-workers +48%
Landlords, tenants or neighbor+36%
Law enforcement officers -17%
Relatives/family members +19%
Security personnel/Bouncers +20%
Service Providers -17%
INCIDENTS REPORTED TO
LAW ENFORCEMENT +20%
Complaint taken w/no arrest +7%
Complaint taken w/arrest +15%
Complaint refused +82%
Not reported as bias +18%
Reported & classified as bias +30%
Reptd. as bias Class. refused -15%
Attempting bias class. -7%
No class. available +9%
w/out slurs -3%
w/out slurs -36%