L.A. City Leaders Want the Murder of Homeless People to Be a Hate Crime

The Los Angeles area was stunned by a spate of heinous crimes against people living on the streets earlier this year. Now, a resolution unanimously approved by the L.A. City Council calls for state legislation that would make attacks on homeless people a hate crime.

“The current definition of hate crime does not include housing status, even though attacks against those experiencing homelessness are a persistent problem," states the resolution, which was introduced by Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez.

A 2015 report from the National Coalition for the Homeless confirms that attacks on homeless individuals are increasing nationwide. Since 1999, more deaths have occurred from attacks on the homeless than have occurred as a result of hate crimes against races, religions and sexual orientations. The problem is worst in California, according the Office of the Chief Legislative Analyst.

Other states such as Alaska, Florida, and Maryland have expanded their hate crime laws to include housing status. The California Legislature approved similar legislation in 2010 but it was vetoed by then Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.