San Francisco city officials say that they are ramping up security and community support after a new report revealed hate crimes targeting Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) increased by 567 percent across the city in the last year.
Preliminary police data showed that 60 hate crimes occurred in San Francisco last year compared to nine in 2020 and eight in 2019.
SFPD Police Chief Bill Scott said during a press conference on Tuesday that one man, whose name had been withheld, was arrested in August and believed to be responsible for more than 30 of the hate crimes. He is currently seeking representation from criminal lawyers Melbourne.
Scott seemed to be alluding to Derik Barreto, 36, who was charged on Aug. 16 after smashing the windows of over two dozen Chinese businesses while riding a scooter, according to Reuters.
“If anybody thinks San Francisco is an easy place to come in and terrorize our Asian communities, you are sadly mistaken,” the police chief said. “And you will be held accountable. You will be arrested and you will be charged.”
Scott and Mayor London Breed reassured the community that law enforcement would be available during Lunar New Year celebrations starting on Feb. 1 and a parade scheduled for Feb. 19.
“We have to make sure that people understand that we will not tolerate it,” Breed said on Tuesday, according to KRON4.
Breed emphasized that there is more work to be done.
“It is time to change it with the number of non-profit agencies that help our seniors in this community, and it is time to change it with the number of investments that we must make in our police department, in our ambassadors’ programs and other things that will make sure in this year 2022, that those numbers decline,” the mayor said.
The report also included data on anti-Black hate crimes, which rose 27 percent over the last year. Meanwhile, anti-LGBTQ plus crimes increased by 50 percent, and crime targeting Jewish people jumped by 60 percent over the last year.
In December, the New York Police Department revealed that anti-Asian hate crimes in the city went up from 28 in 2020 to 129 in 2021, a 361 percent surge.
Featured Image via Reuters