NYPD Creates Asian Hate Crime Task Force
The New York Police Department is forming an Asian Hate Crime Task Force, its first-ever task force dedicated to investigating crimes targeting a single race, The city has seen a rise in hate crimes directed at Asians since the coronavirus pandemic began. Staffed by 25 detectives of Asian descent who speak a combined nine Asian languages, the unit will guide victims through the justice system, from reporting a crime to prosecution. “When a victim looks at an Asian cop, they’ll see, ‘Oh he reminds me of my brother, or my son,’” said Stewart Loo, the deputy inspector who heads the task force. “It gives them some comfort level.” NYPD logged 23 incidents of coronavirus hate crimes, a category created this year to track crimes targeting someone for their identity based on the perception that it has something to do with COVID-19. All but one targeted people of Asian descent.
Hate crimes overall have plunged in the city, with 206 recorded between Jan. 1 and Sept. 27, down 33 percent compared with 308 in the same period a year ago. Incidents of anti-Semitism, which account for the majority of hate crimes reported, fell 50 percent. Deputy Inspector Mark Molinari, commanding officer of the Hate Crime Task Force, wasn’t surprised when crimes rose against Asians. The origins of the virus in China, he said, would inspire some people to blame Asian-Americans. What he hadn’t foreseen was the reluctance of some victims to cooperate with authorities. Some were driven by fear of law enforcement, others by a lack of English proficiency, and more who worried about their troubles going public.