SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – With the rise in hate crimes across the country, the San Francisco Police Department has launched a hotline for Chinese language speakers.

The goal is so victims and witnesses to crimes can feel more comfortable reporting them to police.

“He just blasted my left chin and said go back to your country,” Derek Tam said. 

Derek Tam says this happened at the ferry building in late March after his attacker tried to steal his phone while tam working at a pop-up version of his Chinatown candy store.

“I would say I am one of the lucky ones because I wasn’t hurt by what is happening in our city,” Tam said. 

He’s talking about the rise of hate crimes against Asians that have escalated in this country and that increase in violence born out of prejudice is behind the San Francisco Police Department’s launch of an anonymous tip line for monolingual Cantonese and Mandarin speakers.

The police and APPA, an Asian and Pacific Islander American Community Group that advocated for the hotline, have been passing out these flyers in order to spread the word about this new resource.

“The Asian community has a problem with reporting language problems they’re scared of retaliation and so the thing is the tip line  manned by officers who are bilingual so these people will come out and report the crime and SFPD are catching them and the faster they get the information they’re able to solve a lot of the crimes quicker,”

While the commander of the community liaison unit behind the tipline couldn’t speak to whether or not arrests have been made directly because of calls into the hotline but he did say they’d gotten tips that have helped in investigations, including a recent robbery and home invasion.

SFPD is planning to expand the tipline to include other languages, including Spanish, Japanese, Korean, Tagalog and Russian to name a few but it’s important to point out that the tipline is not a replacement for 911 — It’s a supplement.

911 is still the best number to call in an emergency.