While police, activists and victim advocates across the United States are aware that pickup crime exists, it is impossible to pinpoint exact data.
Others have called escort services or used recreational drugs with their attackers and are fearful they'll be charged if they contact the police. "They feel like, ' I was doing something wrong in the first place,'" said Charles Nelson, a member of the Chicago Black Gay Men's Caucus.
"They feel like, ' I shouldn't have been in the park looking for some kind of a sexual relationship.' They're afraid of what's going to happen and how the police are going to respond to them." Rios said he has known about pickup crime for years but, in the first quarter of 2013, has seen only one set of incidents described. All five said they were robbed, and one man claimed he had also been beaten for initially resisting the robbery. "Out of the five, four of them would not give me their names," Rios said.
In April 2013, five separate men called Rioswho is based in the Lakeview neighborhood's 19th (Town Hall) District but operates citywide in his liaison capacityto talk about being victims of pickup crime. The men simply wanted to make Rios aware they had been targeted.
C., school principal named Brian Betts was found murdered in his home.
In the weeks that followed, investigators learned that Betts, 42, had arranged a meeting with his attacker through a sex chat line a few hours before the murder.
Betts agreed to leave a door to his house unlocked so that 19-year-old Alante Saunders could enter discreetly, news reports said.But when the teen arrived, he brought along three other men. Many believed Betts was the victim of a pickup crimeone of the least-discussed and least-reported types of crime that affect the gay community.The group proceeded to rob Betts, kill him and steal his SUV. Pickup crime occurs when someone meets a potential date or sexual partner and is then victimized as a result, said Lisa Gilmore, director of education and victim advocacy at the Center on Halsted.Gay men are most likely to be targeted, and pickups can occur online, in bars, on the street or through phone lines."People will pretend that they want to hook up or go on a date with somebody in order to perpetrate some kind of crime or violence," Gilmore said.Once a meeting is arranged or the victim is drawn away from a crowded environment, crimes committed can range from robbery to battery or sexual assault toin extreme casesmurder.