Bay Area mayors address recent anti-Asian violence

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) — As each day passes, we see more videos of crimes against Asian Americans in the Bay Area.

As each city grapples with these incidents and the growing sense that these crimes are motivated by hate, KRON4 wanted to reach out to the mayors of the three biggest cities in the Bay Area to get their perspectives and what they are doing to keep residents safe.

Crimes against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are happening across the Bay Area, predominantly in the big cities.

San Francisco, where among the victims was an 84-year-old man who died from injuries following an unprovoked attack.

In Oakland, among several crimes, a 75-year-old man who died from injuries he suffered during a robbery.

And in San Jose, where an Asian woman was recently the victim of an attack at this bus station

“Leaders speaking up and simply saying that hate and discrimination are not tolerated,” Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said.

“And it doesn’t feel good when so many of our brothers and sisters in our Asian community are under attack,” San Francisco Mayor London Breed said.

“The Bay Area is our collective home,” San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said. “It is for everyone.”

In a virtual conversation with mayors from San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose, the question is…

“As mayor what have you done to address crimes against members of the AAPI community in your city?”

“One of the programs that we recently launched, Street Violence Intervention Program, is a program that works in San Francisco and has been in existence for many, many years to address a lot of the gun violence in certain communities,” Mayor Breed said. “What we’ve done is expanded that program to include neighborhoods that consist of a large population of Asian seniors. In particular Chinatown, Clement Street and other neighborhoods.”

“In San Jose, we believe in a carrot and stick approach. The stick is simple. If you commit hate crimes against any members of our community, Asian Americans, or anyone else, we’re going to be on you like a ton of bricks,” Mayor Liccardo said. “The carrot is that we have a unique opportunity here in the Bay Area, the incredible diversity that we have in this community, to be the most successful multicultural community if we get this right.”

“Of course I am working on the root causes of crime. From everything with the Oakland promise to get more kids to and through college, to our guaranteed income demonstration, to really get to the root cause of poverty and the racial wealth gap,” Mayor Schaaf said. “These are all pieces of a holistic approach to community safety.”

Through the first three months of 2021, the San Francisco County DA’s office has filed five hate crime charges in crimes against AAPI. There was a total of three hate crime charges filed the previous year.

The Santa Clara County District Attorney filed two hate crime charges in 2021 and a total of two hate crime charges for the year 2020.

The information on hate crimes against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders was not available when KRON4 contacted the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office.

What do the three mayors have to say on the subject of these crimes being motivated by hate?

“So, clearly there is some level of connection that we don’t completely understand,” Mayor Breed said.

“But I do think we need to be cautious,” Mayor Liccardo said. “The truth is we don’t know the motive of an assailant or a perpetrator unless we hear them say something or unless we see a clear pattern. In some cases they may simply be crimes.”

“And I have to acknowledge that many communities in Oakland, not just the Asian American community are feeling unsafe right now,” Mayor Schaaf said.

All three Bay Area mayors say they want to see the wave of crimes against the AAPI community come to an end.

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