Stop Asian Hate

SF city officials, community leaders discuss AAPI hate

By Gilda Balan, Correspondent

SAN FRANCISCO — This week’s celebration of the Lunar New Year AKA the Chinese New Year of the Wooden Dragon saw the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community head to city hall to air their concerns about the targeted hate crimes that continue against them.

In an online article in the NBC Bay Area, writer Sergio Quintana reported that dozens had rallied holding signs that said “Stop Asian hate, stop the violence,” and “I want to get home safe, end the violence against Asians.”

Violence against the AAPI community had risen sharply in San Francisco in the last few years beginning at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. “Asian-targeted hate crimes peaked in 2021,” writes Quintana, “But according to San Francisco police data, they have since declined by more than 80%.”

Surprisingly, the large number of hate crimes could be attributed to a very small number of perpetrators.

The SFPD said the dramatic drop was due to the arrest of one person, who was believed to be responsible for at least 40 hate crimes in 2021.

“That person, through kind of old school policing, surveillance, things of that nature, was found and arrested,” said Sgt. Jamie Hyun of the SFPD.

Yet another hatemonger was arrested last year. That suspect is believed to have committed seven hate crimes against the AAPI community.

During a hearing by the public safety committee of the board of supervisors, representatives from the SFPD and district attorney’s office said a particular challenge in some cases was the reluctance from many in the AAPI community to report that they had been victims. This attitude, however, has been changing.

Diana Olivia of the SFDA’s Office said: “If we didn’t have these reports, even though there wasn’t a suspect that could be arrested at the scene at the time, then the police officers couldn’t put together that series of events that allowed them to put together one large case.”

Quintana’s article said one of the reasons the situation has been changing is because the city has invested in community programs and expanded its community ambassadors program.

“Just seeing them and being able to say, ‘I feel unsafe, can you help me?’ Just even that will really help,” said Supervisor Connie Chan.

She added, however, that many in the community, particularly seniors, still feel unsafe. Thus, there’s still work to be done.

(This resource is supported in whole or in part by funding provided by the State of California, administered by the California State Library in partnership with the California Department of Social Services and the California Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander American)
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