In response to a stark increase of hate crimes against Asians, the New York Police Department (NYPD) announced the creation of a specialized Asian Hate Crime Task Force on August 18th that will include 25 Asian American officers who can speak a second language. Victims are reluctant to speak to the police due to the fear of authorities, language barriers, and cultural differences. Not needing a translator means that the officers will be able to build better relationships with the victims, leading to greater cooperation.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, many Asians living in the West have become targets of hate crimes. President Trump puts the blame of the virus and pandemic on China, which has reverberated back onto the community, causing people to believe that Asians are all carriers of the virus. As such, there has been a surge of hate crimes across the country. Asians and Asian-Americans have become victims of verbal and physical abuse. NBC News has reported that there have been at least 316 racist attacks against Asians between late March and mid-July in New York City alone. Across the country, there have been at least 1900 incidents of anti-Asian discrimination.
News of this newly-created task force has been well-received by the Asian community in New York, who had been urging the police to aggressively prosecute hate crimes for months. They believe that this will result in a greater community feeling within neighborhoods. Another benefit of doing so is having increased social safety, which can help quell the stress that everyone is already dealing with amid the pandemic.