CBS2's Ali Bauman spoke with the commanding officer of the NYPD's anti-Asian hate crimes task force about the disturbing spike in violence against Asian Americans nationwide and here in New York.
- We have seen a disturbing spike in hate crimes against Asian-Americans nationwide and here in New York. CBS2's Ali Bauman spoke with the commanding officer of the NYPD's anti-Asian hate crimes task force. Ali.
ALI BAUMAN: Well, Dana, the task force is made up of 25 Asian-American detectives, who together speak over 11 different languages. Their job is not only to investigate hate crimes but also to help bridge the gap between victims and police. The commanding officer says this is important because in order to resolve the rise in hate crimes, we must first understand the full scope.
Deputy inspector Stewart Loo his commanding officer of the NYPD's Asian hate crimes task force. He helped form the agency last spring in response to a surge in attacks on Asian-Americans during the pandemic.
STEWART LOO: We were blamed for the virus, and because of such, we were targeted for a lot of crimes.
ALI BAUMAN: NYPD data shows at least 22 anti-immigrant hate crimes so far this year, up from 0 reported in the same period last year.
STEWART LOO: Yes, there's an uptick. There's a surge. It's not something that's new. I think the main reason why we're seeing these numbers go up is because of the awareness.
ALI BAUMAN: Loo says crimes against Asian-Americans have long been underreported.
STEWART LOO: It's a very daunting task for them, especially the ones who don't speak the language. A lot of them fear retaliation.
ALI BAUMAN: How do you go about encouraging people to come forward?
STEWART LOO: Getting the word out there that this is becoming a problem, that goes a long way and education.
ALI BAUMAN: As an Asian New Yorker, a husband, and a father, this crisis is deeply personal for Loo.
STEWART LOO: My wife is afraid to leave the house. She doesn't want to go on the subways. She doesn't want to walk in the street. If she has to, she would wear her mask and put a hoodie over her face just so nobody would see that she's Asian.
ALI BAUMAN: What would you tell, you know, some of the other New Yorkers who, like your wife, are afraid to walk around alone in the city right now?
STEWART LOO: It's a tough question, you know? I've got to deal with that stuff every day. Some people travel with a body in pairs or in a group. It would help mitigate being a victim of a crime.
ALI BAUMAN: So how can we help our Asian community?
STEWART LOO: I speak to a lot of my victims, and what they tell me is I'm being attacked. I'm verbally being assaulted. And the worst thing is that there's so many people around, and they're not doing anything. I would say any kind of intervention, any kind of words of comfort helps in that situation.
ALI BAUMAN: Officer Loo believes the numbers will continue to rise before things get better.
STEWART LOO: Because the unreported crimes will be reported. Once they're reported, we can figure out what the real problem is. And then once we have the problem, we have to come up with a solution.
ALI BAUMAN: Officer Loo says hate crimes can also be undercounted because detectives need to prove the motive in hate crimes, which he says can be difficult if, for example, words were not exchanged during an attack. Dana.
- Ali, thanks for bringing that to us.