MIAMI – The Miami-Dade County State Attorney’s office announced a new effort to protect South Florida’s LGBTQ community.
This comes following a new study revealing a startling amount of hate crimes targeting the group.
One part of ongoing problem is that members of the LGBTQ community are not reporting crimes the way they should, and so now there’s research to prove it locally and actions that will hopefully help.
Marquis “Kiki” Fantroy was 21 years old.
Bree Black was 27.
They’re just two in a longer list of victims reportedly targeted for their sexual identity and murdered in South Florida.
Now a new FIU study is giving insight into just how severe the issue of crime against members of the LGBTQ community in Miami-Dade County really is.
Nearly half of 875 people interviewed in the study said they’ve been victims of a crime.
95 percent of them said they were targeted for their sexual orientation.
The study also found that 34 percent of respondents said they were concerned with reporting the crime to police.
Most victims of reported hate crimes in Miami-Dade County tend to be young and Black, and offenders tend to be older and Hispanic.
“What we have to do is break down the walls, educate ourselves as law enforcement officers and reach everyone,” said Miami-Dade Police Dir. Alfredo Ramirez III.
Recommendations are coming from FIU’s research, which includes creating support centers at law enforcement agencies like the State Attorney’s Office, to promote themselves as safe zones for members of the LGBTQ community to come forward and report crimes.
“The phycological, the emotional, the physical trauma that is experienced, now we have the benefit of this research,” said Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle.