Fear, and Discord, Among Asian Americans Over Attacks in San Francisco

Fear, and Discord, Among Asian Americans Over Attacks in San Francisco

The assaults themselves have become a point of dispute. Asian American leaders and residents disagree over whether the attacks were random or were motivated by racial animus. None of those arrested in the seven most high-profile attacks since January have been charged with a hate crime. The attacks occurred while San Francisco has been confronting what many residents perceive to be a crime problem worsened by the pandemic.

Car break-ins in San Francisco occur at rates among the highest in the nation. And midyear crime statistics released on Monday show a sharp rise in people injured or killed in shootings. And Asian residents are not the only ones being assaulted: Crime data from the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office shows that Black, Latino and white residents are more likely to be victims of crimes involving force and trauma than those of Asian descent.

In the most recent attack against Asian Americans in mid-June, a 94-year-old grandmother of Chinese descent who was walking with a cane was stabbed in front of her apartment building, blocks from one of San Francisco’s most exclusive neighborhoods.

The city’s immediate response to the attacks was to redeploy 20 officers onto foot patrols. A multilingual hotline to report hate crimes was established. But both city and community leaders have acknowledged that those measures have not been enough.

“I take personal offense to what we see happening on the streets because I’m very sensitive about the need for us to take care of our elderly population,” Mayor London Breed said in an interview. “I was raised by my grandmother and I can’t imagine if someone did this to her.”

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