Police department statistics from 2020 showed a nearly 150% increase in hate-fueled attacks on Asian Americans across major cities in the U.S. from the year before, a recent analysis revealed.
California State University’s Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism compiled data from 16 of the most populous cities in the U.S. and found 122 incidents of anti-Asian American hate crimes last year compared to the 49 recorded incidents in 2019, reports VOA. Experts believe the trend has continued this year.
New York City, which has a significant Asian population, registered the highest increase in anti-Asian hate crime in 2020. Last year, the NYPD investigated a record of 28 incidents involving Asian victims, nearly a tenfold increase from the three cases in 2019.
From two cases each in 2019, Philadelphia and Cleveland each reported six incidents in 2020. San Jose’s four cases in 2019 grew to 10, while Los Angeles’ seven became 15 last year.
The increase coincides with the trend that Asian American advocacy groups have been tracking. Based on Stop AAPI Hate’s data, there were over 2,800 anti-Asian hate incidents between March and December 2020. Of the figures, nearly 9% accounted for physical assault while over 90% were verbal harassment and shunning.
The released information only represents a relatively small sampling of data from the FBI’s annual hate crime data compiled for the previous year, each November.
Brian Levin, executive director of the hate and extremism research center, highlighted how the increase in anti-Asian attacks goes against the declining trend in overall hate crime in most cities. He told HuffPost that he predicts there will be a “century-high” number of hate crimes targeting those of Asian descent in the U.S., once the FBI releases the 2020 data in the fall.
“For our Asian American friends and neighbors, this is similar to a post 9/11 time, similar to what we saw with Muslims and Arab Americans,” Levin was quoted as saying.
Rights activists in the Asian community are pointing to the negative statements used by Donald Trump in blaming China for the COVID-19 pandemic along with some people associating Asian Americans for the economic and social impact of the coronavirus.
Asian American Bar Association of New York board member Chris Kwok noted how Trump’s political leadership essentially “put a target on the backs of people perceived to be Chinese. It’s Sinophobia.”
“East Asians who look Chinese are now experiencing this, and this goes back to a long history of anti-Asian discrimination in this country,” explained Kwok.
Democratic New York Representative Grace Meng said in a recent statement that while Trump is no longer in office, “his past anti-Asian rhetoric and use of terms like ‘Chinese virus’ and ‘Kung-flu’ continues to threaten the safety of the Asian American community.”