Police departments in New York City and San Francisco will deploy more officers in Asian communities following the Atlanta shootings that left 8 people dead – six of whom were Asians.
Although it is not clear whether the shootings were racially motivated, Asian communities across the country have seen an increase in racially-motivated assaults and harassment following the coronavirus pandemic that began in Wuhan, China.
According to Fox News, the AAPI Hate Reporting Center released a report saying it received nearly 3,800 first-hand accounts of “hate incidents” or “incidents of bias” from March 2020 to February 2021. The reported stated that 45% of cases occurred in California, and 12% in New York.
NYPD counterterrorism unit tweeted that it will deploy more assets to Asian communities out of “an abundance of caution.”
San Francisco police are also stepping up their patrols of areas with high numbers of Asians or Asian businesses, including, Chinatown, San Bruno Avenue, Visitacion Valley and the Richmond and Sunset Districts, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
In a recent press conference, San Francisco Mayor London Breed said, “We have seen a rise of hate crimes against our elderly Asian community, and I want to make it clear that we won’t tolerate it. San Francisco will continue to support and uplift our Asian community…the xenophobia and discrimination against our Asian community has been really horrible.”
The police department tweeted that there has been an “alarming” spike in anti-Asian violence in recent weeks, and said that they are working with the AAPI community and federal partners to increase patrols and deal with the situation.
San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott explained the rationale for increasing police presence in Asian areas, and called for greater community outreach efforts to assist police officers, while showing support for the Asian and Pacific Islander community.
“That presence, we hope, will deter some of these opportunist type of crimes that are being committed in our city. The Asian American-Pacific Islander community needs to know that we stand with them. We support them. This is horrific. Any type of violent crime is horrific. But when people appear to be targeted because of their race or ethnicity, that is unacceptable.”
The San Francisco Chronicle noted that California had more attacks than any other state with 1,691 – the numbers likely a function of the high Asian population in California. The Bay Area has seen 34 assaults and thefts against Asians since the start of 2021.