NYC officials tout renewed efforts to fight anti-Asian hate crimes

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Shant Shahrigian, New York Daily News
·2 min read
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City leaders are boosting efforts to fight hate crimes that have targeted Asian New Yorkers, in particular, since the start of the coronavirus outbreak.

The recent deployment of extra NYPD officers to the subways will focus in part on preventing hate crimes, while Mayor de Blasio promised meetings with community leaders this week to hear what else the city can do.

“The NYPD is watching to protect folks and stop these horrible actions,” Hizzoner said at a Tuesday press conference, after a series of alarming subway incidents prompted the NYPD to send 500 extra cops to stations and trains earlier this month.

The recent crime streak includes unprovoked attacks on two Asian seniors on subways within a 24-hour span last Tuesday.

“These racist attacks have been outrageous, unconscionable, disgusting and it must end,” Rep. Grace Meng, a Queens Democrat, said at the press conference.

She and de Blasio partially blamed former President Donald Trump for fomenting hate through racist language about coronavirus.

“Although Donald Trump is no longer in office, his past anti-Asian rhetoric and use of terms like ‘Chinese virus,’ ‘Kung flu’ continues to threaten the safety of our community in New York and around the country,” Meng said.

While police have logged 28 known incidents of “COVID-related” hate crimes against Asians and made busts in 18 of those cases since the start of the pandemic, the commanding officer of the NYPD’s Asian Hate Crimes Task Force acknowledged the number of incidents is likely higher.

“These numbers are definitely underreported,” said the commander, Deputy Inspector Stewart Loo, explaining that the NYPD only categorizes hate crimes as “COVID-related” if the attacker makes statements related to the virus.

De Blasio and Meng urged New Yorkers to speak out if they see hate crimes.

“So many Asian Americans literally live in fear and are afraid to leave their homes because they don’t know what might happen to them,” the congresswoman said.