NYC, NYPD confront surge in anti-Asian hate crimes

In just one day last week, an Asian woman was shoved to the ground in Queens, landing on her head and knocking her unconscious, and two Asian seniors were attacked on the subway in separate incidents.

Physical attacks and harassment of Asian-Americans have surged at an alarming rate in New York City. Nearly 3,000 "first-hand cases" have been recorded by Stop AAPI Hate, a group documenting anti-Asian bigotry. 

Officials in New York believe the real numbers are far higher.

In all of 2019, the NYPD recorded three hate crimes that targeted Asians. In 2020, that number jumped to 29 victims, a nearly 1,000% increase. The NYPD says the majority of incidents in 2020 are classified "coronavirus motivated" meaning the attacker referred to the pandemic in some manner during the attack.

Joanne Yu of the New York-based Asian American Federation said the group has received 500 reports from Asians targeted in bias attacks. 

"We are scared, outraged, and devastated by the hate crimes against Asian New Yorkers, Many who are frontline workers who helped the city when needed the most," she said at a press conference.

The head of the NYPD's newly created anti-Asian Hate Crime Task Force said he agrees that the incidents are underreported.

"We had an incident last year where a man was a victim of a hate crime and when he finally reported it, he told us, 'It's the second time it's happened to me this week,'" Deputy Inspector Stewart Hsiao Loo said. "So that's an indication it's been happening and it's underreported."

In response to the surge in anti-Asian hate crimes, the city on Tuesday unveiled its Stop Asian Hate website to encourage those who witness anti-Asian bias attacks to report it. The website even offers suggested tweets and posts to copy and paste onto social media to raise awareness and to send a warning that those who commit hate crimes will face consequences.

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