In Oakland, police are investigating around two dozen hate crimes against Asian Americans that range from physical assault to robbery. This past week, Asian Americans in several cities around the country rallied to speak out against the increase in hate incidents they say have coincided with the coronavirus pandemic.
Here in San Diego, the district attorney's office said it's investigating three suspected Asian American hate crimes that have occurred since the beginning of the pandemic. A hate-crime hotline has been established, as has an online tool to help victims and members of the public feel more comfortable reporting incidents that might be motivated by bias or hate.
Since April, the San Diego County DA's office said it has received 116 tips through the reporting tool, about 10 of which were crimes allegedly perpetrated against Asian Americans. National nonprofits like Stop API Hate recorded 42 anti-Asian incidents in the San Diego area from March to December of last year. Those incidents ranged from vandalism and graffiti to verbal and online harassment to workplace discrimination to physical assault.
Activists in the Asian American community in San Diego said they worry that cultural norms have caused some victims of hate to feel uncomfortable reporting the incidents.
"I think within the Asian Pacific Islander community, there is a tendency for people to sort of stay silent," said Kent Lee, with the San Diego Asian Pacific Islander Coalition. "It has a lot to do with the model minority myth."
Summer Stephan, district attorney for San Diego County, said a crime that is motivated by hate can elevate charges against an individual. She said, even if you're unsure whether a hate crime was committed, people should report any incidents they think were motivated by hate or bias.
"This is how we interrupt violence before it happens," Stephan said. "This is how we interrupt an escalation of violent hateful conduct."
If you believe you're the victim of a hate crime or witnessed a hate crime, you can reach the district attorney's office here.