AAPI Community Safety

(By Mayor London Breed)

My fellow San Franciscans,

Based on the data from this past year, we unfortunately saw a significant increase in hate crimes against our Asian American community over the last year.

In fact, in 2021, the number of hate crimes against our AAPI community increased by 567%. From just 9 in 2020, and just 8 the year before, to 60 in 2021. These are targeted attacks on a community solely because of who they are or the language they speak. And they are reflective of a broader targeting of this community when it comes to other crimes like assaults and elder abuse.

Our seniors deserve to be able to walk safely down the street. Our kids should not be scared to walk outside with the fear of being targeted. No one in this community should feel that way.

Hate crimes impact all of us – and we know many communities are targeted in this City, including our Jewish community, the LGBT community, the African-American community, and the Arab-American community. But the numbers we are seeing here are alarming in our AAPI community, and I want to make this clear — we will not tolerate these crimes in San Francisco.

We will continue to invest in safety resources to protect our community and hold people accountable for the crimes they commit. Whether it’s community-based safety resources or police academy classes, we will work to make sure that everyone feels protected in our City. We have partnered with Self Help for the Elderly for programs like the Seniors Escort Program, which provides escorts for people to be able to run errands, go to appointments, or just get fresh air.

We’ve also worked with Community Youth Center on our Community Guardians program. They are about being out there in the community, with multi-racial partnerships, bringing people together. Walking in our merchant corridors. Getting to know the people. They are about building bridges, and strengthening neighborhoods.

And with the budget season approaching, we are working with the community to make sure programs like this continue well into the future. But we know it takes more than community, which is why we need to continue to address what has really become a crisis of police staffing in this City.

In the long run, we have to add more police academy classes to have more foot beat officers and community engagement along our commercial corridors, quicker response times, and more diversity in the Department so we can have more officers who speak Cantonese and Mandarin out in the neighborhoods every day keeping people safe.

In the short-term, before we can add those classes, we need more immediate funds. That is also why I introduced a Public Safety Funding measure for the San Francisco Police Department to ensure critical services continue through the end of the fiscal year. The proposal, which calls for an allocation of $22.5 million, would provide an additional $7.9 million to SFPD and $14.6 million for SFFD so that the Departments can continue to provide essential city services and avoid cuts that would reduce the ability to address serious crime, maintain emergency response times, and meet other basic safety needs.

Right now, our public safety departments are in a staffing crisis, which requires both immediate solutions like this Public Safety Funding, and a long-term commitment to funding and filling Academy Classes. We need police officers out on the street engaging in community policing and addressing crime, and we need our firefighters and paramedics responding to emergency calls when people are at their most vulnerable. That funding must be approved quickly so we can continue to meet our basic responsibilities.

It is now up to the Board of Supervisors to get this Public Safety Funding approved. And your continued support will be needed as we push this all forward.

Finally, as we welcome the new year in two days, I want to express my sincerest gratitude to the people of this great City. The Year of the Tiger signifies strength, bravery, and courage, and with a new beginning, we’ll continue to come together to protect the health and well-being of our City, support our small businesses, and remain united to stand up for the safety of our diverse communities and our seniors. With hope, courage, and determination, let’s ring in the Year of the Tiger by providing access to new opportunities and a path to a brighter future. With good fortune and best wishes, let’s celebrate this important time with our family, friends, and neighbors and uplift the spirits of those around us. Have a safe, healthy, and prosperous new year. Gung Hay Fat Choy!

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London N. Breed