After weeks of escalated attacks against Asian seniors, community safety groups will begin patrolling San Francisco neighborhoods with large senior populations, Mayor London Breed announced Wednesday.
During a press conference at Portsmouth Square in Chinatown, Breed said the $2.2 million program will expand on the work of the Street Violence Intervention Program by partnering with the Community Youth Center of San Francisco and Self-Help for the Elderly, which will establish teams to patrol the following neighborhood corridors:
- Leland Avenue in Visitacion Valley
- Grant and Stockton streets in Chinatown
- Clement Street in the Richmond
- San Bruno Avenue in the Portola
- Larkin, Eddy, Turk, Ellis, Golden Gate streets in the Tenderloin
The mayor said it has been hard to watch some of the recent attacks against the Asian and Pacific Islander communities, including a Sunday incident where a victim was robbed and dragged by the suspect’s vehicle as she clung to the driver’s window in an attempt to get her purse back.
Breed said that the AAPI community has been most harmed by rhetoric surrounding the Covid-19 virus, adding:
“Our leadership in the federal government tried to divide us with the number of comments made pertaining to the virus. The businesses in Chinatown suffered. We still have not recovered. In fact, in some ways it feels like things have gotten worse.”
The mayor said building a “cross-cultural relationship” in the new safety collaboration program is key to protecting Asian communities and mending divides.
“When I look at the grandmothers here in Chinatown, I see them as my grandmother and I want no harm to come to them, and we will do everything we can in this city to stop that from happening.”
According to Self-Help for the Elderly CEO and President Anni Chung, an escort service program will also be restored to offer protection as seniors run essential errands around The City.
Urging family members to also escort elders when running errands, Chung said:
“Please offer to escort them to the banks on the weekend if you are available. Offer to buy some groceries with them so that they feel safe.”
Sarah Ching-Ting Wan, the Community Youth Center of San Francisco executive director, said it will take community participation to keep residents safe.
“We have to stand together as a community against hate against violence, no matter who the victim is or where the violence happens.”
The center provides services for victims of crimes and recently organized a GoFundMe drive for 83-year-old Ngoc Pham who was violently attacked on Market Street last week.
Breed warned that The City will not tolerate people coming in from out of town to commit crimes against its residents, adding:
“Those of you who think that you’re going to come to San Francisco and victimize anyone in our communities, you have another thing coming. We will not tolerate it and we will stand up and stand strong against the hatefulness, against the violence, that’s inflicted on people who don’t deserve it.”