Hate crimes against the LGBT community have increased by 63% in the West Midlands over the last 4 years, according to new data from West Midlands Police.
In 2019 alone the police recorded 542 offences in the region. PC Gary Stack, West Midlands Police chief on sexual orientation hate crime, said: “The rise in homophobic hate crime being recorded shows that more people are reporting than ever before.”
Homophobic crimes are the second most common hate crime in the West Midlands, only behind racial offences. From 2016 to 2019 they were five times higher than Islamophobic and anti-Semitic crimes.
The most common offence has been to intentionally cause harassment, alarm or distress. In the last year 184 such crimes were committed in the region, and a total of 606 since 2016. In 2019, four people suffered from grievous bodily harm, inflicted with intent.
The rise in homophobic crime in the West Midlands is in line with the overall trend in England, where these offences have tripled over the last decade.
The majority of suspects in these crimes were identified by the police. PC Stack said: “The current legal framework around homophobic hate crime differs to that which exists around racism or religious hate crime and this can often lead to victims believing that homophobia is not taken seriously.”
PC Stack added: “We actively encourage reporting of hate crimes, including those of a homophobic nature. We take all reports of hate crime seriously and understand that it is sometimes difficult to go to the police, but urge everyone to report it when it happens.”