Queen’s Assemblymember Ron Kim has issued a proposal to fund the creation of programs that will include free taxi rides and walking buddies for groups targeted by hate crimes.
Kim sent a missive to Governor Kathy Hochul requesting a declaration of disaster emergency to fund the programs in light of the recent surge in hate crimes against Asian Americans.
According to the New York Post, the letter read, “This is a disaster of unequivocal proportions that must be met with the total mobilization of law enforcement and social service funds and resources from the Government.”
If the program, estimated to cost around $30 to $40 million, were to be funded, eligibility would require that the protected group have experienced a 200% increase in hate crimes against them from the previous year.
One of Kim’s programs would include a voucher system that covers 15 round-trip taxi rides per month. Kim also proposed the creation of a protection agency called the “Security Companion Service for Protected Groups,” which would have officers trained in “hand-to-hand combat measures” readily available as walking buddies, reported the Post.
Kim also wrote in his letter to Hochul that he wants to fund a program that provides paratransit services to seniors, allowing them access to unlimited free rides and trained peace officers.
In a post uploaded to Kim’s official Twitter page, he writes that the attacks against Asian Americans are not “random.”
An anonymous state lawmaker told the Post that they believe that Kim’s proposal may not provide the best solution. They said that there are more simple solutions to providing targeted communities with safety resources.
“One example would be ensuring that hate crime perpetrators are not released immediately to strike again, given that they are more likely to be repeat offenders,” they said.