Florida Leads Nation in Attacks on Homeless

Has led nation four years in a row

By Carlos Miller
|  Monday, Aug 10, 2009  |  Updated 1:41 AM CDT
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Florida Leads Nation in Attacks on Homeless

Carlos Miller

A homeless man in Miami cooks his dinner of crabs he captured in Biscayne Bay. He is more likely to be attacked down here than anywhere else in the country.

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For the fourth year in a row, Florida led the nation in violence against the homeless. None of the other states even come close.

And most of the attacks against the homeless in our state occurred in South Florida, making us the most violent metropolitan area in the nation for the homeless.

Obviously, the highly publicized incident in 2006 where a group of teens were caught on video beating a homeless man to death is hardly an isolated incident.

A total of 30 incidents were reported throughout the state last year. The closet state was California with 22 incidents, even though they have double our population.

Coming in at third was New York, a state with only a slightly higher population than Florida, recording only seven attacks.

The National Coalition for the Homeless, which released the study last week, believes many more incidents have occurred against homeless people, only to go  unreported.

And most of these incidents have absolutely no motive but to inflict pain on victims that many consider subhuman, according to the report.

“Unprovoked targeted attacks by predominantly domiciled young males assailants that do not involve robbery, personal disputes, or drug dealing have claimed the lives of over 200 men and women nationally over the past decade.

“Methods include blunt force trauma, shootings, maiming, drowning, stabbings, and the burning of victims alive.”

In South Florida last year, two homeless men were shot and killed in separate incidents in West Palm Beach; a woman was raped and nearly strangled in Pompano Beach; and several homeless men in Fort Lauderdale were continually harassed by a man with a chain saw.

The homeless advocacy group that released the report is lobbying to pass laws that would define attacks on the homeless as hate crimes.
 

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