NYC sees 395% spike in anti-Asian hate crimes

Compared to all of last year, anti-Asian hate crimes in New York City nearly quadrupled in the first half of 2021, according to new data from the New York Police Department (NYPD).

What to know: Of all the individuals targeted for their race, religion, gender and sexual orientation, Asian Americans saw the largest increase in hate crimes, a problem that has steadily worsened since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • As of July 4, there were 104 documented hate crimes committed against Asian Americans, a whopping 395% increase from last year’s 21.
  • Hate crimes motivated by sexual orientation saw the second-highest increase at 356%, with last year’s nine rising to 41.
  • Muslims and white people saw the third-highest increase at 200% each.
  • Black people had the fourth-highest spike at 93%, with 29 this year compared to last year’s 15.
  • Of 329 total cases, 111 were anti-Semitic and had an increase of 61% from last year’s 49.

What the city is doing: The NYPD has set up a dedicated Asian Hate Crimes Task Force to combat and investigate violence against the community.

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  • First announced in August 2020, the task force consists of 25 officers who speak several Asian languages. It was made permanent a month later.
  • Earlier this year, Police Commissioner Dermot Shea announced the deployment of undercover Asian officers to patrol hot spots and act as decoys. At least three individuals have been arrested through these agents.
  • In April, NYPD Detective Vincent Chung sued an African American protester for hurling racial slurs at him at a rally that sought to “end Asian hate.” The incident, which was partly caught on video, saw the suspect taunt Chung with the words “soy sauce” and also threaten Chung’s mother.
  • In May, Inspector Tommy Ng, commander of the Asian Hate Crimes Task Force, named mental illness as a “common denominator” in some anti-Asian attacks. Shea also acknowledged the role of mental illness but pointed out another common denominator: perpetrators of such incidents have been “arrested multiple times and released.”
  • “Keeping all New Yorkers safe is what drives us, and your police officers are working with community members around the clock to do just that,” Shea said on Tuesday. “Through targeted deployment and collaborative efforts with those we serve, the department continues in its mission to stamp out criminal activity and hold those who commit acts of violence to account.”

Featured Images via CeFaan Kim (left) and New York Assembly Member Yuh-Line Niou (right)

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