Thursday, May 13, 2010 by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Florida officially categorizes attacks on the homeless as hate crimes

On Tuesday, the Governor of Florida signed into law a bill that would classify attacks against the homeless as hate crimes. Florida has ranked first in the nation on such attacks against the homeless for the past eleven years--with clearly marked trends of homeless people being targeted in some local districts in the state.

This law would impose harsher punishments for offenders. Supporters hope it will deter people from attacking homeless individuals based on their status as homeless--a trend that seems to have grown in recent years. The National Coalition for the Homeless has been a strong supporter of the legislation and has done extensive nationwide research on the incidence of violence against the homeless. In New York, there have been 34 attacks against the homeless over the past 10 years, resulting in 15 deaths and ranking 6th in the nation.

In New York, legislation classifying attacks against the homeless as hate crimes has been introduced in the Assembly and is expected to be introduced in the Senate in the near future.

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