GLOV records 25% increase in anti-gay violence
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Sharen Shaw Johnson, Gay Men & Lesbians Opposing Violence
(202)737-4569

Anti-gay violence climbs 2% in 1997

Increase logged despite double-digit decreases in violent crime overall

WASHINGTON - In its first partial year of fully funded and staffed operation, Gay Men & Lesbians Opposing Violence (GLOV) recorded a 25% increase in the number of victims of anti- gay men, lesbians, bisexual, transgendered, and HIV (glbth) violence, the organization announced Tuesday.

GLOV documented 86 victims of anti-glbth violence in 1997, compared to 69 in 1996. "Sadly, our 1997 statistics include five murders which, as far as we know, remain unsolved," said GLOV Executive Director Sharen Shaw Johnson.

GLOV's report was released concurrently with the annual report of the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP), of which GLOV is a co-founder. The national report documents how the glbth community does not seem to be benefiting from the double-digit decreases in violent crime reported by the U.S. Justice Department in 1997.

NCAVP also documented two disturbing national trends:

Police-gay relations strained nationally

NCAVP documented an 83% rise in anti-glbth incidents occurring in police precincts and jails. The number of reported offenders who were law enforcement officers increased by 76% nationally, from 266 in 1996 to 468 in 1997. Reports of unjustified arrests increased 48 - and the number of victims who refused to report incidents to the police increased by 21%.

"This hardly is surprising," said Johnson, "considering how the other statistics indicate that nationally, members of our community are being victimized or re-victimized by the very people entrusted with ensuring their safety: the police."

The D.C area glbth community, in contrast, enjoyed among the nation's best relations with local police, according to reports targets of bias and bias violence filed with GLOV. Just 3% of victims complained of unjustified and 1.5% identified the incident against then as occurring in a jail or police station.

"Statistically," Johnson said, "the relationship between the D.C. glbth community and the police in 1997 was smooth but not seamless: 5% of those reporting to GLOV identified the police as their offenders. That's 5% too many - but it compares to 11% nationally."

D.C. police-gay community relations were strained further by reports in November that the FBI had arrested and charged Metropolitan Police Department Lt. Jeffrey Stowe with extortion in connection with a scheme to blackmail men he videotaped leaving a gay club, then traced using police computers. Stowe, who subsequently pled guilty and now awaits sentencing, at the time had oversight responsibility for the Metropolitan Police Department extortion squad.

GLOV joined NCAVP in calling for police sensitivity training programs to continue and for significant improvements in police disciplinary procedures. The Metropolitan Police Department this week has resumed sensitivity training for recruits; the District of Columbia City Council currently is considering two bills - by Council Members Sandra Allen and Jack Evans - to create a new Citizens' Police Review Board.

Reports of violence against youth up 34%

Anti-glbth violence at schools and colleges rose 34% in 1997. The number of victims younger than 18 also increased by 37% last year, while violence against those ages 18-22 increased 35%. In D.C., those 22 and younger accounted for 18% of all victims reporting - almost one in five. Their risk is highlighted by one other statistic: that nationally, of the offenders whose ages were reported, more than 43% were age 22 or younger.

"This increased reporting level for anti-glbth youth violence actually may be good news," Johnson said, "in the sense that you must lance a boil before it can drain and heal. For years now, the few prevalence studies that have been done on violence against glbth youth, most notably in Seattle and Massachusetts, indicate they're terribly at risk. They may be among the most endangered members of our community. Their reporting the bias and bias violence many of them face literally every day will help us amass the ammunition we need to improve services to this often under-served and at-risk population."

"At the very least," Johnson said, "these numbers indicate schools may be failing in their duty to protect all their students, including glbth youth. Teachers and administrators have an obligation to keep their students safe. They can meet that obligation only by creating a climate in the schools that promotes acceptance of people regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity or HIV status."

Reports of anti-glbth violence spiked upward in March, April: months of Ellen show "outing," Atlanta lesbian bar bombing.

Although D.C.-area statistics did not reflect the national trend, NCAVP tracking programs as a whole recorded a 30% increase in incidents in March and a 25% increase in April, over those months in 1996.

"We believe this alarming 'spike' in March and April reports nationally is related to two factors," Johnson said: "the bombing of a lesbian bar in Atlanta and the unprecedented national attention given the coming out of both actress Ellen DeGeneres and her television character Ellen Morgan.

"Part of the responsibility for inflaming this violent homophobic backlash must rest with leaders of the Radical Right, who were quoted widely as condemning Ellen and ABC," Johnson said. "We have seen before how violent rhetoric often spurs violent action; this was no exception. Once again, we call on such prominent figures to acknowledge that their language, when it is the language of hate, can indeed have severe consequences. We call on them to exercise true moral leadership by choosing their words responsibly and with care for the gay and lesbian lives they can help endanger through inflammatory speech."

D.C. statistics: the demographics of danger

Washington-area glbth residents were almost twice as likely as their counterparts nationally to escape injury and serious injury in bias violence incidents in 1997 -- but twice as likely to be murdered.

Among victims of anti-gay assaults, 53% escaped injury, compared to 29% nationally; 12% were injured seriously compared to 22% nationally. However, just 2% of incidents nationally resulted in death, compared to 6% in the D.C. area.

Victims were 2.5 times more likely to be assaulted with a weapon nationally than in the D.C. area -- but when a weapon was involved in the D.C. area, that weapon was three times more likely to be a gun. Firearms accounted for 33% of all D.C.-area assaults involving weapons, compared to 9% nationally. Second most popular weapons in the D.C. area: thrown objects such as bottles, bricks and rocks, which accounted for 1 in 4 assaults involving weapons, roughly the same percentage as nationally.

Bias and bias violence in the D.C. area were slightly more likely to be serial events, such as protracted harassment and/or attacks by co-workers or neighbors: Of D.C.-area reports, 37% involved serial incidents, compared to 31% nationally. Cases involving 10 or more previous incidents were three times more prevalent nationally: 9% compared to 3% in the D.C. area. However, cases involving 6-10 previous incidents were three times more prevalent in D.C.

D.C. victims

There is no "typical" victim. D.C.-area persons reporting being the targets of bias or bias violence ranged in age from18 or younger to 65 and older. They were of every gender, sexual orientation and almost all ethnicities.

However, statistically, the most bias and bias violence incidents were reported by a gay (78%) white (49%) male (78%) aged 30-44 (36%) who suffered no injuries (53%) but was harassed (74%) or attacked (57%) on the street (31%) or in his own home (23%).

D.C. offenders

The victim most likely was attacked by two persons; anti-gay bias violence continues to be a crime of cowards. The offenders most likely were strangers (46%) or co-workers (13%). Most likely they were white (41%); if not, they likely were African/American (32%) or Latino (6%). They most likely were adults, ages 30-44 (30%), or young adults ages 23-29 (14%).

D.C.-area law enforcement response

Almost four in 10 victims reported to the police -- almost always the Metropolitan Police Department (76%). Law enforcement officers took down the victims' complaints in 35% of the cases, made arrests in 5% -- but arrested the victims in another 6% of the cases reported to GLOV. Police were courteous more than half the time (56%) and verbally abusive in only one case reported to GLOV -- overall, among the nation's better records of police response.

Still, D.C.-area police-glbt community relations were marred in 1997 by reports that former Metropolitan Police Department Lt. Jeffery S. Stowe was arrested for trying to extort money from a man who visited a gay club. Stowe reportely used police camera equipment to capture video footage of the man leaving the club, then used police computers to track his license plates. The man, presented with Stowe's demand for money, did not pay; instead, he informed the FBI. Stowe was head of the department's criminal investigation division when he was arrested; as such, he oversaw investigations of extortion and blackmail.

Also of sharp concern in the D.C. area in 1997 were murders under similar circumstances of five African/American gay males over a two-year period. The similarities raised concerns that the deaths are serial killings. These crimes are chronicled elsewhere in this report.

Note:

Statistics for 1997 for the D.C. metropolitan area were impacted by factors including a significant change in the status of the data collection agency, GLOV. In mid-1997, GLOV received federal Victims of Crime Assistance (VOCA) funding through the District of Columbia, and so transitioned from being an all-volunteer agency which responded to bias violence reports mostly in the evenings to maintaining an office and paid staff beginning in September. Accordingly, the increase in reporting during the last quarter most likely is an anomaly attributable to the daily availability of a staffed office and reporting line.

D.C. incident reports by month:

Jan: 10
Feb: 1
Mar: 3
Apr: 0
May: 3
Jun: 1
Jul: 4
Aug: 1
Sep: 6
Oct: 13
Nov: 13
Dec: 10

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D.C. statistics in National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs report:

District of Columbia

The D.C. metropolitan area recorded a 25% increase in anti-glbth bias and bias incidents in 1997. However, an examination of the monthly reporting levels indicate at least some of the increase was driven by the acquisition by Gay Men & Lesbians Opposing Violence of funding which allowed it to acquire an office and full-time staff in September.

D.C. Incident Reports by Month
(Note: monthly stix not available for 96)

Jan: 10
Feb: 1
Mar: 3
Apr: 0
May: 3
Jun: 1
Jul: 4
Aug: 1
Sep: 6
Oct: 13
Nov: 13
Dec: 10

D.C. Statistics in the NCAVP report:

A. D.C. VICTIMS

A total of 86 persons were targets of anti-glbth incidents in 1997 - a 25% increase over the 69 targeted in 1996.

Gender

Women accounted for 20% of D.C. victims in 1997, up from 12% in 1996. Nationally, women comprised 30% of bias/bias violence targets. Males were the targets 78% of the time in 1997, compared to 68% in 1996. One transgendered person and one institution - a church -- reported being anti-gay hate crime targets to GLOV in 1997. The gender of 10% of total D.C. victims was not recorded.

Sexual orientation

In 1997, 78% of the hate crime targets reporting to GLOv identified themselves as lesbian or gay, compared to 83% in 1997. Two percent each said they were bisexual and heterosexual; none so identified in 1996.

Age

D.C. hate crime targets spanned age categories, with the plurality falling in the 30-44 age range, as nationally:

Under 18: 6%
18-22: 6%
23-29: 21%
30-44: 36% (Nationally, 30-44-year-olds accounted for 42% of all victims.)
45-64: 10%
65+: 1%
Organization: 1%
Unknown: 19%

Race/ethnicity

As in 1996, Anglos accounted for most of those reporting, followed by African/Americans. Showing up in significant numbers for the first time this year: Latino/as.

African/American: 16 victims, 19% of total. ('96: 7 victims, 10%.)
Arab/Middle Eastern: 2 victims, 2%. ('96: 0.)
Asian/Pacific Islander: 1 victim, 1%. ('96: 0.)
Latina/o: 4 victims, 5%. ('96: 0.)
Multiracial: 4 victims, 5%. ('96: 0.)
White: 42 victims, 49%. ('96: 18, 26%.)
Jewish: 1 victim, 1%. ('96: 0).
Organization: 1 victim, 1%. ('96: 0).
Unknown: 15, 17%. (' 96: 44, 64%).

Extent of injuries

None: 46 persons, 53% of totalNationally.: 29%.. (96: 22, 32%)
Minor: 17, 8Nationally: 47%.%.(96: 3, 4%)
Serious: 10, 12%. Natl. 22%. (96: 5, 7%.)
Death: 5, 6.%. National: 2% ( 96: 7, 10%)
Unknown: 8, 9%. (96: 32, 46% )

B. D.C. INCIDENT INFORMATION

Crimes and offenses

Assault without a weapon: 22, 34%. Natl. 11%. '96: 8, 8%.
Assault with a weapon: 97: 13, 2%. Natl. 5%. '96: 13, 13%.
Attempted assault with a weapon: 2, 3%. Natl. 2%. 96: 2, 2%.
Subtotal (assault): 37, 57% of all incidents. 96: 23, 24% of all incidents.

Intimidation: 40, 62%. 96: 10, 10%.
Harasssment: 48, 74%. 96: 20, 21%.
Mail/literature harassment: 3, 5%. 96: 1, 1%.
Telephone harassment: 0. 96: 0.
Subtotal (harassment) 51, 78.4% of all 65 incidents. 96: 21, 22%.

Murder: 5, 8%. Natl. .5%. 96: 7, 7%.
Sexual assault/rape: 3, 5%. Natl. 2%. 96: 0.
Abduction/kidnapping: 1, 1.5%. 96:1, 1%.
Extortion/blackmail: 1, 1.5%. 96: 0.
Bomb threat/bombing: 1, 1.5%. 96: 0.
Police entrapment: 1, .1.5%. 96: 24, 25%.
Unjustified arrest: 2, 3%. 96: 1, 1%.
Police raid: 0. 96:
Discrimination: 13, 20%. 96: 4, 4%.
Arson: 0. 96: 0.
Vandalism: 4, 6%. 96: 3, 3%.
Robbery: 5, 8%. 96: 3, 3%.
Larceny/burglary/theft: 1.5%. 96: 0.

Totals:
1997: 165 offenses = 2.5 offenses per incident.
1996: 97 offenses = 1 offense per incident.

Number of D.C. incidents involving weapons

Bats, clubs, blunt objects: 2, 17% Natl.: 22.5%
Bottles, bricks, rocks: 3, 25% Natl. 25.5%
Firearms: 4, 33% Natl. 9%.
Knives & sharp objects: 2, 17% Natl.: 20%.
Other: 1, 8% Natl.: 22%.

Serial incidents

24 of 65 incidents were serial incidents, or 37%; 63% were non-serial incidents. Nationally, 69% were non-serial incidents.

Serial incidents:

2-5 previous incidents: 12, 18% of total incidents Nationally: 11%
6-10 previous incidents, 10, 15% Nationally.: 5%.
10 or more previous incidents: 3% Nationally: 9%

Site

Police precinct/jail: 1, 1.5%. 96: 7, 7%.
Private residence: 15, 23%. Natl.: 23%. 96: 2, 2%.
Public transportation: 1, 1.5%. Natl: 3%. 96: 2, 2%.
Street/public area20, 31%. Natl: 25%. 96: 17, 18%.
Workplace: 5, 8%. Natl.: 11%. 96: 1, 1%.
Public accommodation: 3, 5%. 96: 4, 4%.
Cruising area: 1, 1.5%. 96: 24, 25%.
School/college: 4, 6%. 96: 0.
GLBTH Institution: 1, 1.5%. 96: 0.
Other: 1, 1.5%. 96: 1, 1%.
Unknown: 3, 5%. 96: 39, 40%.

C. OFFENDERS

Anti-glbth hate crimes continued to remain the crimes of cowards: D.C. hate crime targets in 1997 identified 134 offenders attacking them - on average, two per incident, 1.6 per victim. Nationally in 1997, there were 1.7 offenders per incident; 1.39 per victim.

D.C. offenders' gender identity

Males continued to commit most anti-glbth hate crimes:

Female: 19, 14% of 134 total offenders. Natl.: 12.6%. 96: 3, 3%.
Male: 99, 69%. Natl.: 75%. 96: 27, 28%.
Unknown: 16, 12% '96: 67, 69%. Natl.: 12%.

D.C. offenders'ages

D.C. area offenders tended to be older than nationally:

Under 18: 6, 4%
18-22: 19, 14%. Natl.: 17%
23-29: 29, 22%. Natl.: 14%
30-44: 40, 30%. Natl.: 21%
45-64: 9, 7%.
65+: 0.
Unknown: 31, 23%

D.C. offenders' race/ethnicity

African/American: 43, 32% of total offenders. Nationally, African/Americans were 15% of all offenders.
Arab/Middle Eastern: 2, 1.5%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 0
Latina/o: 8, 6% Natl.: 16%
Multiracial: 1, .07%
White: 56, 41% Nationally: 34%
Jewish: 0
Organization: 0
Unknown: 25, 19%

Relationship of D.C. offenders to victims

Acquaintence/friend: 0
Employer/co-worker: 18, 13%
Ex-lover: 4, 3%
Landlord/tenant/neighbor: 7, 5%
Law enforcement officer: 7, 5%
Lover/partner: 2, 1%
Pick-up: 0
Relative/family: 6, 4%
Roommate: 0
Security Force/Bouncer: 1, .07%
Service provider: 7, 5%
Stranger: 61, 46%
Other: 11, 8%
Unknown: 10, 7%
Total: 134

Number of offenders involved per incident

One: 28, 43%
Two-three: 15, 22%
Four-nine: 9, 14%
Ten and over: 1, 1.5%
Unknown: 12, 18%
N.B.: In 1996, 1 offender was involved in each incident recorded.

D. POLICE INFORMATION

Reporting history, 1997-96 comparison

Complaint taken, no arrest: 20 instances, 30%. 96: 15, 15%.
Complaint taken, arrest: 3, 5%. 96: 1, 1%.
Complaint refused: 2, 3%. 96: 0.
Not reported to police: 24, 37%. 96: 2, 2%.
Will report: 1, 1.5%. 96: 1, 1%.
Victim/client arrested: 4, 6%. 96: 1, 1%.
Unknown: 11, 17%. 96: 77, 79%.

Bias classification

Not reported by victim as bias: 3, 12% of cases reported. 96: 3, 19%.
Reported & classified as bias: 6, 24%. 96: 3, 19%.
Reported/classification refused: 3, 12%. 96: 0.
Attempting classification: 2, 8%. 96: 4, 25%.
No bias classification available: 97: 1, 4%. 96: 0.
Unknown: 97: 10, 40%. 96: 6, 38%.

Police attitude

Courteous: 14, 56%. 96: 7, 44%.
Indifferent: 5, 20%. 96: 5, 31%.
Verbally abusive, no slurs: 0. 96: 0.
Verbally abusive, slurs: 1, 4%. 96: 0.
Physically abusive, no slurs: 0. 96: 0.
Physically abusive, slurs: 0. 96: 0.
Unknown: 5, 20%. 96: 4, 25%.

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