CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A new report from the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, based out of New York City, suggests hate-crime homicides against the LGBT community are on the rise.
Among the report's highlights, an 86 percent spike in homicides in 2017, when 52 cases were reported and compiled - compared to 28 reported in 2016.
Among the 52 reported cases, two were Charlotte transgender women of color - a group identified as a major target among the larger LGBT community.
LGBT rights group, Equality NC, believes a divisive climate nationwide could be to blame.
"I think people feel emboldened at this point by what they hear politicans say and other public figures say, that makes them feel they can commit these crimes with impunity and I think the data shows that they are exactly right in believing that," said interim executive director, Matt Hirschy, adding that North Carolina law needs to be updated.
"North Carolina is one of a few states that doesn't actually have a hate crime law that is comprehensive of LGBT identities," Hirschy said. "There's a federal statute obviously, but the burden of proof in that statute is on the victim - it's not on the investigators or anyone like that."
The report's authors said it is not an exhaustive list of anti-LGBT homicides, citing problems with correctly identifying a victim as well as an unwillingness among some victims to report cases as reasons why the 52 number could in fact be higher.
The NCAVP report has been compiled since 1996. You can view the full report here.