On Wednesday, San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott told reporters, “The Asian American Pacific Islander community needs to know that we stand with them. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

On Wednesday, San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott told reporters, “The Asian American Pacific Islander community needs to know that we stand with them. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

SF police boost patrols in Asian communities after spa shootings

Police are stepping up patrols in San Francisco’s heavily Asian neighborhoods following a series of shootings Tuesday at massage parlors in Georgia that killed eight victims, including six Asian women.

The shooting near Atlanta on Tuesday further compounded already heightened fears in San Francisco and across the nation of Asian Americans being attacked because of their race or ethnicity. Community members have said they have seen increased levels of anti-Asian attacks since the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic, with some tying the violence to racist rhetoric from former President Donald Trump.

The killings Tuesday prompted Mayor London Breed to direct the San Francisco Police Department to “increase patrols in areas with a high number of Asian residents, visitors and businesses immediately.”

“No one should have to live in fear that their race or ethnicity could make them a victim,” Breed tweeted Wednesday. The mayor said broader efforts to address the issue would be announced shortly.

Authorities in Georgia have not linked the shootings to race. They told reporters the gunman claimed the shootings were not racially motivated. The suspect allegedly said he had a sex addiction and wanted to eliminate his temptations — the women who worked in the massage parlors.

Still, the shootings contributed to anxieties many have felt in San Francisco since early February, when an elderly man from Thailand was fatally knocked to the ground while on his morning walk.

“Any type of violent crime is horrific, but when people appear to be being targeted because of their race or ethnicity that is unacceptable,” Police Chief Bill Scott told reporters.

Scott said his department is focused on making arrests to hold individuals accountable for committing crimes and on making officers more visible to prevent crimes from happening.

Just Wednesday, police announced that officers arrested three suspects in connection with the robbery of an Asian senior who was attacked inside a laundromat in Chinatown last month.

The suspects, three 19-year-old men from Antioch, are alleged to have been on a crime spree that included various auto burglaries in the area.

In addition to stepping up patrols, police are coordinating with federal authorities as well as Asian American and Pacific Islander community organizations in response to the shootings.

“The AAPI community needs to know that we stand with them,” Scott said.

The group Stop AAPI Hate has recorded nearly 3,800 reports of anti-Asian hate incidents nationwide since last March.

“There has been a documented pattern of recent attacks against our community,” the group said in a statement in response to the shootings. “Not enough has been done to protect Asian Americans from heightened levels of hate, discrimination and violence. Concrete action must be taken now. Anything else is unacceptable.”

mbarba@sfexaminer.com

Bay Area NewsCrimesan francisco news

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Police seized ghost guns and other firearm manufacturing items while executing a warrant in February (Courtesy SFPD)
Ghost guns linked to rise in SF shootings as numbers jump

San Francisco police are seizing an increasingly alarming number of untraceable firearms,… Continue reading

Students walk around campus near the Cesar Chavez Student Center at San Francisco State University. (Steven Ho/Special to S.F. Examiner)
California’s massive UC and Cal State systems plan to require COVID-19 vaccinations this fall

Nina Agrawal, Teresa Watanabe, Colleen Shalby Los Angeles Times The University of… Continue reading

From left, Esther Gulick, Sylvia McLaughlin and Kay Kerr started launched one of the country’s first environmental movements. (Courtesy Save The Bay)
Sixty years of Saving San Francisco Bay

Pioneering environmental group was started by three ladies on a mission

Former California Assemblyman Rob Bonta, left, shown here in 2015, has been chosen by California Gov. Gavin Newsom as the state’s new attorney general. Bonta was confirmed Thursday. State Sen. Ed Hernandez is at right. (Katie Falkenberg/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
Rob Bonta is confirmed as California attorney general

Patrick McGreevy Los Angeles Times The state Legislature confirmed Democratic Assemblyman Rob… Continue reading

Temporary high-occupancy vehicle lanes will be added to sections of state Highway 1 and U.S. Highway 101, including Park Presidio Boulevard, to keep traffic flowing as The City reopens. <ins>(Ekevara Kitpowsong/Special to S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Transit and high-occupancy vehicle lanes coming to some of The City’s busiest streets

Changes intended to improve transit reliability as traffic increases with reopening

Most Read