Florida led the nation in 2008 for the fourth consecutive year in violence against the homeless, according to figure from the National Coalition for the Homeless. The group documented 30 attacks last year in 10 communities across the state, including three deaths, reports the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Homeless rights advocates want governments to do more to prevent violence, including passing laws that deem such attacks to be hate crimes.
The report said most assaults are committed by teens and young adults who single out the homeless because of prejudice. The researchers said the homeless are one of the nation’s most victimized groups, but often, attacks go unreported. The number of violent incidents against the homeless nationally grew from 60 in 1999 to 106 last year, down from 160 in 2007. Homless advocates have discovered an Internet phenomenon of “bum fight”‘ or “bum hunting” videos in which young men attack the homeless or pay transients to fight each other.