Sunday, May 20, 2007

Violence Increasing Against Homeless

Are We Looking at a Rough Summer?

Over the last two weeks, NEOCH has seen a rise in hate crimes directed at homeless people. A guy was beat up outside of Franklin Circle and wound up in the hospital. His attackers targeted him because he was homeless and an "easy" target. Then a couple were attacked when they were sleeping off the beaten path near the Flats. The group that attacked the couple first wanted to buy the couple's dog, when the couple refused they came back and beat up the man and stole the dog. The homeless man sleeping in the Flats was hit over the head, and the woman broke her collar bone. The worst part of this is that the police were called three times and never came. Then the group came back the next night with a larger crew and again attacked the homeless couple.

There was another incident that we did not get to interview the victim, because he had relocated by the time we got the story. Then on Friday night a guy was shot in the head near the Cosgrove Center and two of the largest shelters in our city. Media reports have suggested that the victim may have been homeless. This is highly unusual since most homeless people do not carry around a gun so it is unlikely to be homeless on homeless violence. Before doing any investigation, we at the Coalition are afraid that this either a hate crime or has something to do with the drug trade downtown. We will look into this further and see if any homeless people know any details.

We are also working on a "Be Safe" flyer to alert those who stay outside of the rise in attacks. We are also looking into cell phones in order for our constituents to reach the police. We don't want to frighten people, but if there are people going out to attack vulnerable people we need to make people aware. Attacks rise when young people are out of school, and get bored. If we are already seeing a rise before school is even over, we are going to have a very bad summer here in Cleveland.

Posts by Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless staff and Board.

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