A third chat-line related attack has been reported by police which may prove that gay men usingsocial networking sites and apps are being targeted. One scenario involved inviting the attacker into the victim's home and the others where the parties met up at the assailant's car, in one instance the victim was robbed and the other ended in murder. GLOV urges those in our LGBT community using social networking sites and apps to be extremely careful and follow some basic rules:
1. DO NOT invite the person into your home without meeting in a safe, public place.
2. Get as much personal information as possible including a real face photo, phone numbers and a home address and try to verify the information.
3. Let a friend know your plans and share the information with them.
Two days prior to the tragic murder of Brian Betts, a 28-year old Prince William County man was robbed at gunpoint after agreeing to meet another man through a cellphone chat line. This incident marks the fourth time that a DC-area gay man has been the target of violent crime after agreeing to meet an individual through a website, chat room, or phone app and further confirms a trend - both locally and Nationwide - that gay men who use these methods to arrange meetings are being targeted for violent crime. While this trend has largely gone unreported by local media, GLOV believes that increased awareness and knowledge among the community is a vital component of keeping people safe.
Last month a Phoenix man was robbed and murdered by a man he met on the iPhone application Grindr. The New York City Anti-Violence Project documented over 25 pick-up crime incidents in 2009, most of which involved internet dating sites, including adam4adam and craigslist. The types of reported crimes range from theft and drugging, to sexual violence and murder. It has also been reported that some assailants are working in teams.
WHAT WE CAN DO:
GLOV works with the MDP and members of the Department's Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit (GLLU) as well as concerned members of the community and elected officials to raise awareness regarding the safety issues affecting members of DC's LGBT community. Anyone who has experienced an attack or has information about recent violent crime is being asked to contact the police on a special toll-free Crime Solvers at: 1-800-673-2777 or to call the Gay, Lesbian Liaison Unit at 1-877-495-5995. All calls are confidential.
For additional information on how to get involved with GLOV, please visit our website: www.glovdc.org. Please forward this message to your friends and urge them to stay safe.
We urge everyone to report incidents (verbal and physical threats, intimidation, and violence) to the police and let GLOV know as well by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org. All reports to GLOV will be kept confidential.