The New York Police Department told NY1 that they will be using undercover officers to protect Asian communities from hate crimes.
Commissioner Dermot Shea said they will increase patrols in Asian communities across the city, including Chinatown, Flushing, Queens and areas in Brooklyn and lower Manhattan. Part of the deployment will also include undercover officers.
“We’re going to redeploy some of our undercover officers, if you will, to be out there and to make sure that people aren’t going to be unfairly targeted,” Shea said.
Shea did not elaborate on details of how the undercover officers would be used. When the New York Daily News reached out for further comment from the NYPD, they said the department cannot release information on personnel changes for security reasons.
According to the AP, undercover officers are trained and will be on patrol, complementing the presence of uniformed patrols. Chief of Department Rodney Harrison said the undercover officers, who are all of Asian descent, will make a more “robust team.”
Shea warned attackers to think twice before committing a hate crime. “The next person you target, whether it’s through speech, menacing activity or anything else, walking along a sidewalk or on a train platform, may be a plainclothes New York City police officer. So think twice.”
The increased deployment in Asian communities is a response to a spike in hate crimes. This year, officers have reported 26 assaults on Asians compared to 7 this time last year. During the entirety of 2020, there was a total of 29 bias attacks against Asians, according to NYPD statistics.
Shea encouraged residents to report hate crimes and to intervene when possible to protect fellow New Yorkers.
“The key here is all New Yorkers have to come together,” Shea said. “It’s really sickening when you read these cases one after the other and see what people are being subjected to. It’s really important to come together and denounce it.”