LATINO VOICES
03/19/2012 03:16 pm ET

Hispanics Are 'Easy Targets,' Victims Of Recent Chain Of Georgia Burglaries

Burglars who are responsible for a recent string of break-ins in Cedartown, Georgia, targeted Hispanics, local authorities report.

Since January, there have been five incidents during which two men were assaulted and injured. According to a local publication, The Fish Wrap, victims who gave descriptions of the burglars all described three young black men as the perpetrators of the crimes.

Cedartown Assistant Police Chief Jamie Newsome cited several reasons to illustrate why members of the Hispanic community have been singled out as victims of burglaries.

"[Burglars] see them as easy targets," Newsome told The Fish Wrap, adding that Hispanics "don’t call police and don’t have firearms or weapons."

The biggest factor, according to Newsome, is that Hispanics are more likely to carry cash on them.

This is not the first time Hispanics have been the known targets of race-based crimes. According to a FBI Hate Crimes Statistics report, 66 percent of victims of hate crimes in 2010 were “targeted because of an anti-Hispanic bias.” Hispanic residences were also targeted in a recent sequence of crimes in Beaumont, Texas.

However, in past years, members of the Hispanic community in the region have been targeted not by criminals, but by the police. After all, there is no state law in Georgia that explicitly prohibits police from racial profiling.

Racial data is hard to come by in the area to offer substantial proof of racial profiling by Georgia authorities, but there have been enough cases to establish a trend.

In a past Pew Hispanic Center survey, 60 percent of respondents in Georgia said traffic stops were the most common form of “unjust treatment” by authorities.

Police checkpoints are often set up near neighborhoods that are predominantly Latino. A 2011 state immigration law granted law enforcement the ability to ask for legal papers whenever someone is stopped for another offense. So these traffic stops effectively serve to check drivers’ licenses and immigration statuses, similar to the DUI checkpoints in Escondido, California.

ALL-RELATED-ON-HUFFPOST

CONVERSATIONS