An SFPD logo on a police car outside the new Portola Substation on Wednesday, June 27, 2018. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

Hotline for Mandarin, Cantonese speakers to simplify hate crime reporting

San Francisco Chinese community leaders on Friday announced a new hotline that will make it easier for Mandarin and Cantonese speakers to report hate crimes.

The new hotline number (415) 558-5588 was made possible through the efforts of the nonprofit Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs, also known as APAPA, which lobbied the Mayor’s Office and the San Francisco Police Department for its creation.

“Now is the time for SFPD to increase language access and ensure victims’ voices are heard,” Police Commissioner Larry Yee said.

City College of San Francisco Board Trustee and APAPA Board Member Alan Wong said, “I had to help a Chinese elder translate after she got punched in the eye and shoved off a bus in a random act of violence. She told me the police couldn’t communicate with her. It’s time for our community to speak up but that means SFPD must have the appropriate language services for the Chinese population.”

“Language access has long been an issues in API immigrant communities,” Deputy District Attorney and APAPA Board Member Nancy Tung said. “We can’t expect immigrant communities to engage with law enforcement if they don’t have appropriate services to report crime and be understood. This tip line is a small step in the right direction, but there is much work still to do.”

APAPA is helping spread the word about the hotline through informational flyers and cards. Next, the group is working on increasing hotline access by providing even more languages, APAPA officials said.

According to data from the group Stop Asian American Pacific Islander Hate, since the onset of the pandemic a year ago 359 racially motivated incidents against AAPI residents, including verbal assaults and physical violence, have been reported in San Francisco.

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