by T.J. Johnston, Newsdesk.org
• Sidebar: "Homelessness, by the Numbers?" • Sidebar: "Human Faces, Lost in the Statistics"
Ricky Green of Bolinas, Calif., and Anthony Waters of Cleveland, Ohio, don't know each other, but they have this much in common: both are homeless and both were brutalized by packs of teenagers in June. But their outcomes differed. Green survived. Waters did not.
Main article: "Attacks on Homeless Excluded from Crime Data: Advocates"
The National Coalition on the Homeless's 2008 report, "Hate, Violence and Death on Main Street, USA," combined government crime statistics with reports from local homeless advocacy groups, media reports and self-reported narratives by homeless people to develop a new index of attacks on the homeless. Although federal crime statistics indicate no upswing in violence against homeless people, and that the juvenile crime rate is actually going down, the NCH report found only increases. Advocates for both statistical methods say their counterparts' methods are flawed. Key NCH findings about violence against homeless people:
ATTACKS PER STATE
In 2007, Florida led all states with 31 attacks
California is second with 22, Nevada with 14, Ohio with 13 and Texas with 8
TOTAL ATTACKS, 2006-2007
Total 2007 attacks: 160
Total 2006 attacks: 142
Attacks increased by 13 percent
TOTAL NONLETHAL ATTACKS,
2007 nonlethal attacks: 132
2006 nonlethal attacks: 122
Increased by 8 percent
TOTAL FATALITIES, 2006-2007
2007 fatalities: 28
2006 fatalities: 20
Fatalities increased by 40 percent