NEW ORLEANS -- Two transgender women killed in within days of each other has members of the LGBT community concerned for their safety.
New Orleans Police said they don’t believe the two murders are connected and they don’t appear to be hate crimes, but others are skeptical.
Talk with the New Orleans Police department and the LGBT community about the recent murders of transgender women and you get two different stories.
"We investigate every murder to its fullest extent regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation,” NOPD Commander Doug Eckert said.
"I don't think they're doing enough to protect the transgender community,” Maiyah Dupree said. “You know I hate to say that they're incompetent, but it is what it is."
Members of the transgender community said they feel cases against them are overlooked by the police department.
"I think we're scared to even talk to police or go to the police if something were to happen to us either if we were attacked or being discriminated or treated badly in some kind of way we don't go to the police because we feel they'll push it to the side,” Daphanie Dupree agreed.
Police said at this time they don't believe the murders of Chyna Gibson and Ciara McElveen are because the women were transgendered.
"At this time there's nothing demonstrating this is a hate crime,” Eckert said.
Those who knew the victims say there's no other reason they would be attacked.
"I don't want to believe that people are like that, that they hate people just because they don't understand but a lot of people fear what they don't understand,” Daphanie Dupree said.
Given the documented cases of hate crimes committed against the transgender community in New Orleans, members continue to live in fear.
"I'm terrified for my safety as well as my other transgender sisters,” Daphanie said. “If something were to happen to me how would my family feel? I'm very terrified of that. I don't want my mom to worry about me."
When the NOPD was asked to comment on safety concerns within the LGBT community, police suggested transgender women not meet up with strangers.
"I would say you should know who you're going to go see. Know who you're dealing with,” Eckert said.
The NOPD said there's no reason to suggest the two victims met up with strangers and friends said Gibson and McElveen had no enemies.
"(McElveen) didn't bother anybody, Chyna just the same they didn't bother anybody,” Maiyah said.
Left without answers, this marginalized community just wants to feel protected.
"We just want to be treated like regular people, we are people,” Daphanie said.
Police are looking for the driver of a car they believe might have information about the stabbing death of Ciara McElveen. They're looking for a two-door black Chevrolet Camaro with chrome rims.
Anyone with information on either of these crimes is asked to call Crimestoppers at (504) 822-1111.
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