VPD sees eightfold increase in hate-crime investigations since March compared to same time last year
Rise in racist attacks associated with COVID-19 pandemic says Deputy Chief Const. Howard Chow
Vancouver police say they have opened investigations into 29 hate crimes that occurred in the months of March, April and May.
The number constitutes an almost eightfold increase compared to the same period last year.
VPD Deputy Chief Const. Howard Chow says the rise is associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
"In Vancouver, because of our large Asian population, we are seeing it," he said "What's particularly hurtful is the hateful vandalism to prominent landmarks in Chinatown — the Chinese Community Centre and the millennium lion."
Chow appealed to both witnesses and victims to report racist incidents.
"Don't be silent. Stand up, support and report," he said.
According to the deputy chief constable of Investigations, the VPD has beefed up its presence in Chinatown with increased foot patrols, the installation of surveillance "safety cameras," and by parking a public safety trailer in the neighbourhood.
"Battling this disturbing trend is a top priority," said Laurence Rankin.
Queenie Choo, CEO of S.U.C.C.E.S.S, encouraged people in the Asian community to report racists acts to police.
"We call on all communities to stand in solidarity against all racist behaviour," said Choo.
Police say hate crimes are generally underreported. The VPD says it IS looking at ways of reducing barriers to reporting, including developing a system where victims can report non-emergency incidents in Chinese.
Recent racist attacks in Vancouver include:
- The lions at the Millennium Gate in Chinatown were defaced with anti-Asian graffiti.
- A man kicked, punched and pulled hair of woman who intervened after he verbally attacked two east Asian women wearing face masks.
- A male suspect was seen writing hateful graffiti on several large windows of the Chinese Community Centre.
- A 92-year-old man was subjected to racial slurs and thrown to the ground outside a convenience store.
- An Indigenous woman was punched and told to "go back to Asia" while walking through a park.
- An Asian woman was punched in the face while she waited at a bus stop on Granville Street.
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