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Anti-Asian hate crimes in Vancouver skyrocket by 878%: police report

Vancouver police first identified the 'disturbing trend' of anti-Asian hate crimes shortly after the COVID-19 pandemic was declared
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A report from police equates the COVID-19 pandemic with an "historical anomaly" in anti-Asian hate crimes in Vancouver this year. (Photo: Twitter/lheidli1)

Anti-Asian hate crime incidents have skyrocketed this year in Vancouver, according to figures presented at a police board meeting Thursday.

Although hate crimes, in general, have risen by 116 per cent throughout the city, it is Asian communities that are facing the brunt of the increase – with racial slurs and assaults included in the count.

In the first nine months of 2020, there have been 88 anti-Asian hate crime incidents reported in comparison to just nine in the same span of time last year.

That equals an 878 per cent increase, according to the Vancouver Police Department's (VPD) third key performance indicator report for the year.

‘Disturbing' crime trend emerging

During the Oct. 29 meeting, VPD Deputy Chief Const. Howard Chow said the targeted crime spike is "really concerning,”

The force first identified the “disturbing trend” of reported anti-Asian hate-related incidents shortly after the COVID-19 pandemic was first declared in mid-March.

That same month an Asian man with dementia in East Vancouver was confronted with racist remarks and the force of a stranger who tossed him outside of a convenience store.

The 95-year-old man immediately fell to the ground and hit his head, said police.

In May, an unprovoked attack upon two Asian women in Chinatown proved particularly concerning to police.

Uptick in anti-Asian hate crimes connected to COVID-19

Also in May, an Indigenous woman was punched in the face and told to "go back to Asia" by a stranger while she was out walking her dog.

Authorities have made the connection between the ongoing pandemic and an uptick in reports of "hate-motivated" incidents targeting members of Vancouver's Asian communities.

According to the report, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to what is being referred to as a "historical anomaly" in crime figures.

The VPD has initiated several measures to combat the hate-crime increase, including additional patrols on foot by police officers in Chinatown and the placement of a public safety trailer, with cameras, in three locations within the city.

Anyone who is a victim of a hate crime is asked to call 911, police say.