San Francisco has seen a 567% increase in anti-Asian hate crimes in a year, preliminary data from the police department revealed.
According to the new statistics from the police department, the number Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) hate crime victims in the city increased from nine in 2020 to 60 in 2021.
However, officials warned that the figures are likely an undercount because hate crime incidents are underreported.
“That’s only people that are reporting those crimes. I know that there are a number of people that are not reporting those crimes,” Mayor London Breed said at a press conference on Jan. 25 in the Chinatown district.
The data is also considered preliminary because the California Department of Justice makes the final determinations on data counts for hate crime reporting in the state.
Police Chief Bill Scott said that one man alone was allegedly responsible for 31 of the hate crimes.
According to local news reports, the man allegedly vandalized 20 separate stores, mostly Chinese-owned businesses, across the city.
Scott said that hate crimes represent one of the police department’s highest clearance rates for any crime category.
“We hope that sends a forceful message to would-be hate criminals considering any kind of bias-motivated attack in our City — San Francisco will hold you accountable,” Scott said.
Breed pledged to work with the police department to increase protection and awareness of AAPIs.
“We want to make sure people feel safe, we want to make sure people are comfortable with reporting. We are aggressively in the process of doing recruitment with the police department,” Breed said.
Breed also placed some of the blame for the surge of anti-Asian hate crimes on former President Donald Trump, who used racist terms in reference to COVID-19 at the beginning of the pandemic.
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