Police Chief George Gascón announced Tuesday that his department will set up two “drop-in centers” in areas where Chinese residents have felt victimized by violence, a move intended to draw out a community known not to trust police and to frequently not report crimes.
The move was announced during a heated town hall meeting in the Bayview district attended by more than 200 people, including many blacks who questioned why police don’t seem to make similar efforts in solving crimes in their communities.
The Police Department organized the meeting to address concerns raised by the Chinese community after two high-profile incidents in which black youths assaulted older Chinese residents.
In one case, the victim died from injuries sustained when he was thrown to the ground during an attempted robbery. In the other case, which was captured by a security video, a woman was thrown from a Muni platform onto Third Street.Gascón already has assigned 32 extra police officers to patrol the neighborhoods where the crimes took place.
Some members of the Chinese community have said the incidents were hate crimes, but Gascon intimated that most of the crimes are simply crimes of opportunity.
He provided statistics indicating that Asians are in fact far less likely to be victims of violence than blacks, who are disproportionately victimized by all crime, but particularly violent crimes.
“I am not underplaying the fact that there are people in the Chinese-American community who feel they are being targeted,” he said. “The solutions to these problems are not going to come from the police, they’re going to come from everyone in this room.”