"We are developing a trend here that we have not seen before," San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon said. "About a third of all hate crimes we've seen this year have been focusing on transgender women and that's very, very concerning for us."
A security camera caught two suspects who police say committed one of the more brutal attacks when they beat a transgender woman with an iron pipe outside a Mission District restaurant.
Mia Tu Mutch was a victim in another attack. In April of last year, she was assaulted by two men, also in the Mission.
"They made a lot of derogatory and hateful comments and then proceeded to beat me and kick me in a very crowded public way," Tu Mutch said.
She was then sexually assaulted by a third man who had no connection with her attackers.
"I was left on the ground bleeding and vulnerable, which led to someone else attacking me," Tu Mutch said.
Assistant district attorney Victor Hwang prosecutes hate crimes.
"We've seen about five assaults against transgender people at 16th and Mission in the past, I would say, past year and half to two years," Hwang said. "Four of them relatively recent in the couple of months."
Police believe many of the attackers are preying on transgender women who leave a social service agency office on 16th Street late at night.
Hwang says there are most certainly more assaults citywide that go unreported.
"With the transgender community, I think there's often a reluctance to speak to the police beyond that of most hate crime victims suffer; so to see five cases recently is perhaps the tip of an iceberg," Hwang said.
Tu Mutch says there's good reason for transgender people to be concerned about the rising number of attacks.
"It's almost expected that we're going to face violence because were more likely to be killed brutally than just to be hit by a car," Tu Mutch said.
Tu Mutch's attackers were arrested and convicted.