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Attacks on Homeless To Be Investigated as Possible Hate Crimes by County Departments

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Photo by Coyote2012 via Flickr
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On Sunday morning, a 20-year-old male hispanic transient was shot on the 1200 block of Lyman Place in East Hollywood. He was rushed to the hospital where he was pronounced dead, according to LAPD Officer Karen Smith. His story is just one of many where transients are victims of crime.

"Nationwide, 774 homeless people have been victims of violence since 1999, including 217 who were killed," says the National Coalition for the Homeless per the Daily News. "The number of attacks rose from 142 in 2006 to 160 in 2007 and they're expected to rise even higher in 2008."

And with homelessness in LA County drastically increasing and “an emerging pattern of homeless individuals being an easy target of violence in our community,” county supervisors this morning recommended that attacks on homeless also be investigated and tracked by sheriff's deputies and prosecutors to determine if the crimes are "motivated by discriminatory attitudes or bias against a disability, including mental or physical disabilities," according to the motion (.pdf) presented by Supervisors Zev Yaroslavsky and Don Knabe. The county's Human Relations Commission will report back with an update in 60 days.