By Phil Wong
The recent wave of violence across the 5 boroughs is giving me flashbacks to the high-crime years of the past. Today’s newspaper headlines are a Déjà vu of the late 80’s and early 90’s of New York. I want to talk about one particular category that stands out among the rest—the hate crime attacks against Asians.
Hate crimes are up 76% this year compared to the same period last year. At the end of 2021, the NYPD recorded 133 cases of racist crimes against Asian Americans while there were 30 in 2020. The left-wing media and elected officials quickly blamed these attacks a result of pro-Trump white supremacists targeting Asians for spreading the “China virus.” Chuck Schumer with a group of local elected officials held a candlelight vigil in Manhattan’s Chinatown in memory of those Asians killed in the Atlanta spa shooting. As I write this there are candidates campaigning with slogans to stop anti-Asian xenophobic messages around the pandemic instigated by the former president. The truth comes out when the photos and names of the attackers are examined—the hate attackers are not white supremacists but by a diverse group of career criminals who knows Asians are easy preys. These attacks are a result of criminals walking on the streets looking for vulnerable targets that don’t fight back, they are on the streets because of the recent releases at Rikers, and judges and DAs’ no longer have the power to detain them due to the “Bail Reform” law signed by Cuomo back in 2019.
Meanwhile, another blame zeroes in on gun control laws. Mayor Adams told the press many times a key strategy to bring down crime is to take away illegal guns, with many politicians concur. Yet they failed to see that Asians were killed by stabbings, kicks in the head, and with bare hands. All of the Asian victims of hate crimes were not killed by guns but the rhetoric continues. Labeling white supremacy and gun control the reasons for urban crime, progressive city council members are systemically defunding the police and giving money to organizations to fight racism. The subjects on street gangs and career criminals are tucked away, and are no longer discussed in public safety meetings and budget hearings.
Alvin Bragg was elected as Manhattan’s DA this past January. The week he took office he announced a 10-page memo listing laws he would not enforce. This list is creeping into other boroughs, and other DAs are considering doing the same. With DAs not doing their job, and judges with no discretion to detain anybody for repeated crimes, we all know that thugs of all races commit crimes against vulnerable populations such as newly-immigrated and older Asian Americans. Besides removing DAs that don’t do their job, the obvious solution to fight crime is to roll back the bail reform and take a harsh stance. It will be long way to bring down the high crime stats, but highly active police patrols in neighborhoods where Asian Americans live and work will do more to make Asian Lives Matter than all the protests and vigils in the city.
Phil Wong is the President of the Chinese American Citizens Alliance Greater New York. http://www.cacagny.org/