Volunteers to patrol streets of San Jose’s Japantown

Bay Area

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) – People in the South Bay are coming together to protect the Asian American community.

A new group of volunteers called “Japantown Prepared” plan to patrol the streets.

The organizer says the plan is to patrol the streets when seniors are most active between mid-morning and mid-afternoon.

“There’s a lot of good people out there and they want to do something. They want to help,” public safety volunteer Richard Saito said. 

Richard Saito’s goal with the group “Japantown Prepared” is to keep streets safe for the Asian community. 

“This is something the average person can do,” Saito said.

Saito says he’s already received hundreds of emails. The patrol program will be modeled after the United Peace Collaborative in San Francisco’s Chinatown.

“Observe, record and report and that’s what I’m asking our volunteers to do,” Saito said. 

Saito says they will be focusing on San Jose’s Japantown area on Jackson Street from 3rd to 7th.

Right in that area is the Yu-Ai Kai Senior Center.

“Just to have that extra layer there, peace of mind, knowing that there are people that are patrolling our streets and just keeping an eye out for one another,” Jennifer Masuda said.

Jennifer Masuda is the Yu-Ai Kai executive director. She says the seniors are very aware that the Asian community has become a target.

“I don’t think that they can escape the news on TV, in the newspaper, the chitchat with friends,” Masuda said.

They experienced some relief, after a training session hosted by Saito on Saturday the first two volunteers took to the Japantown streets.

“The seniors were thanking them for doing this,” Masuda said.

Depending on interest, there may be another training session. To get involved email japantownprepared@gmail.com.

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