HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Police are battling a growing number of hate crimes in the gay community.
Equality Texas says there were 52 murders against LGBT Americans last year, seven of those being in the Lone Star State.
Three members of Houston's LGBT community were murdered in 2017.
On Wednesday, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said the department is dedicated to helping everyone stay safe, but one obstacle is getting victims in the gay community to come forward.
"That is why it is so important for this community to know and for everybody to know that if you're a victim of a crime, you need to report it. You need to report it. You're going to be taken seriously, you're going to be handled with respect," Acevedo said.
Violence against the gay community is the highest it's been in 20 years.
Houston Police chief urges LGBT crime victims to step forward
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