HOUSTON - Hate is on the rise. The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Program's latest numbers show a shocking 86% increase in hate-related murders against the LGBT community in 2017.
There have been at least 52 hateful homicides across America, with Texas having the most with seven.
The Montrose Center tracks violence against the LGBT community in Houston.
“Every year, as we've seen, the numbers continually go up. And they're not changing, and so there's definitely something that needs to be done,” said Angelic Setchell with the Montrose Center.
On Tuesday, HPD Chief Art Acevedo held a press conference, saying crime in Houston is on the decline, so why the difference in numbers? Not every hate crime gets reported to the police, but many that don't ....do get reported to community organizations.
“They're fearful of law enforcement, they're fearful for how people are going to handle their situation, in regards to hate crimes, and so that makes them very reluctant to come forward,” said Setchell.
The Montrose Center works with HPD's liaison to the LGBT community, Officer E.J. Joseph, to change that.
A powerful social media movement is also having an effect.
“I think the #MeToo movement is definitely bringing forth that awareness and putting it like I said at the forefront of everybody's mind that this is happening in all communities, especially in the LGBT community and it happens at a higher rate in the LGBT community,” Setchell explained.
The importance of coming forward and being heard can't be understated, because if the authorities don't know it's happening, it handcuffs their ability to protect and serve.
Hate has no place in the City of Houston.