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San Francisco Sees Rise in Crimes on Asians Following ‘Defund the Police’ Movement

Jonathan Walker
Jonathan loves talking politics, economics and philosophy. He carries unique perspectives on everything making him a rather odd mix of liberal-conservative with a streak of independent Austrian thought.
Published: January 28, 2022
San Francisco police officer William Ma (L) helps an elderly woman cross the street while on a foot patrol in Chinatown on March 18, 2021 in San Francisco, California. (Image: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

On Jan. 25, the San Francisco police department issued preliminary data about crime in the city. Asian Americans  saw a spike in crime targeting their community, from single digits to 60 reported hate crimes in 2021.

Just nine such incidents were reported in 2020 and eight in 2019. 

Reported hate crimes against Asian Americans have risen around the country, with the COVID-19 pandemic — which started in Wuhan, China, and was covered up for weeks by the communist regime — being commonly cited as a cause for the upswing. 

The rise in crimes committed against ethnic Asians also follows the “Defund the Police” movement, which kicked off in mid-2020 as a response to the death of George Floyd. The vast majority of violent incidents involving Asian victims have occurred in urban areas, with elderly and less affluent individuals being at greater risk.  

San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott called the six-fold increase in crimes committed against Asians as “significant” and “alarming.” 

“I am heartbroken, I’m frustrated, I’m embarrassed, I’m angry about the violence that has continued to impact many of the people who are part of our Asian community, but especially our seniors,” San Francisco Mayor London Breed said at a news conference. 

Breed tweeted that the city introduced pro-law enforcement initiatives last year, such as senior escort programs, foot beats, and community patrols, to protect the Asian community.

Thirty-one of the 60 alleged hate crimes were committed by a single individual who is currently under arrest. 

In August, police had arrested 36-year-old Derik Barreto, who rode around the city in his scooter and used to vandalize Chinese businesses. He did these crimes for five months. Barreto is facing 33 charges and is scheduled for a court hearing on Jan. 31.

Scott said that police would be present during the upcoming Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations and popular annual parade in the city. 

The latest statistics of crimes against Asians in San Francisco come following the brutal murder of Michelle Alyssa Go, a 40-year-old Vietnamese American woman, on Jan. 15 in a New York subway station. While waiting for a train, a deranged homeless man pushed her into an oncoming train.

The incident has triggered proposals for installing shove-preventing screen doors. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) had earlier called them expensive. 

“Platform doors are an idea that works in many places, but there are special complexities in New York… That said, we’re always looking for ways that we can make the system safer,” MTA Acting Chair Janno Lieber told reporters.

A new report published by the Asian Youth Center and Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Los Angeles shows that roughly one-third of Asian Americans in California’s San Gabriel Valley have either faced anti-Asian hate during the COVID-19 pandemic or know of family members who have experienced such hate. 

Most of the incidents involved verbal attacks. The majority of survey participants said that they are more “vigilant and defensive” now while leaving their homes. Half of the parents who took part in the survey expressed concerns about their children being subjected to racial insults and bullying.

In April last year, a survey by Pew Research Center had found that 81 percent of Asian American adults felt violence against their community was increasing. Only 32 percent said someone supported them when they faced abuse.