News

Rise in hate crimes likely above reported numbers

Data probably captures a small fraction of actual incidents in Palo Alto, Santa Clara County

Demonstrators cross El Camino Real at Castro Street during a rally condemning violence and hatred against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Mountain View on March 21, 2021. Photo by Federica Armstrong.

The number of local hate crimes is low, but the trend line is rising even as most incidents go unreported: That's the message from Palo Alto Police Chief Robert Jonsen and Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen.

Acts against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are just a fraction of the area's reported hate crimes, which can target victims not only because of race but also because of disability, gender, nationality, religion or sexual orientation, Jonsen and Rosen said during several recent presentations on the topic.

Three out of the 10 hate crimes filed so far this year in Santa Clara County were against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, Rosen said. In 2020, a total of 14 hate crimes in all categories were filed, he added.

Palo Alto has averaged about 4.8 hate crimes a year since 2016 — up from 3.6 hate crimes a year from 2006 to 2015, Jonsen said. Two-thirds of those pertain to property, such as vandalism of signs, and about one-third are physical crimes like assaults, he said.

"Santa Clara County is a relatively safe county, and Palo Alto is extremely safe," Jonsen said.

What's local journalism worth to you?

Support Palo Alto Online for as little as $5/month.

Join

But the data probably captures just a small fraction of actual incidents, both officials said.

"We believe there's a lot that's not reported to us," Jonsen said. "We hear about a lot of things third hand that never get reported to the police department."

A nonprofit tracking center, Stop AAPI Hate, recorded 3,794 anti-Asian incidents nationwide since its founding in early 2020 to February 2021. The group has created a reporting system for incidents against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders at stopaapihate.org. The nonprofit was co-founded by the Asian American Studies Department of San Francisco State University, the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council and Chinese for Affirmative Action.

Jonsen and Rosen urge the public to report all potential hate crimes and incidents to local police.

If it's an act of violence, call 911. If it's even an insensitive remark, call your local police department, Jonsen said.

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox.

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox.

"We will come out and have a conversation. Even if it doesn't rise to the level of a crime, we still want to document it," Jonsen said.

Both officials stressed that hate crimes are motivated by bias and typically involve violence or a criminal act against a person or their property, while hate incidents can include horrible words but don't involve a criminal threat.

"It's the difference between words and actions," Rosen said. "A hate incident is yelling and screaming at someone because they're Jewish, Asian, Muslim, Black — saying horrible slurs against someone, but that's all. It's not threatening to hurt them or throwing a punch at them."

Jonsen spoke April 16 and April 26 at virtual events organized by Palo Alto City Council member Lydia Kou and Los Altos City Council member Lynette Lee Eng in partnership with Avenidas senior center and the cities of Palo Alto and Los Altos.

Rosen spoke virtually on April 20 to the Yale Club of Silicon Valley.

Follow Palo Alto Online and the Palo Alto Weekly on Twitter @paloaltoweekly, Facebook and on Instagram @paloaltoonline for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

Stay informed on important crime news. Sign up for our FREE daily Express newsletter.

Rise in hate crimes likely above reported numbers

Data probably captures a small fraction of actual incidents in Palo Alto, Santa Clara County

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Fri, May 7, 2021, 7:00 am
Updated: Mon, May 10, 2021, 8:45 am

The number of local hate crimes is low, but the trend line is rising even as most incidents go unreported: That's the message from Palo Alto Police Chief Robert Jonsen and Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen.

Acts against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are just a fraction of the area's reported hate crimes, which can target victims not only because of race but also because of disability, gender, nationality, religion or sexual orientation, Jonsen and Rosen said during several recent presentations on the topic.

Three out of the 10 hate crimes filed so far this year in Santa Clara County were against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, Rosen said. In 2020, a total of 14 hate crimes in all categories were filed, he added.

Palo Alto has averaged about 4.8 hate crimes a year since 2016 — up from 3.6 hate crimes a year from 2006 to 2015, Jonsen said. Two-thirds of those pertain to property, such as vandalism of signs, and about one-third are physical crimes like assaults, he said.

"Santa Clara County is a relatively safe county, and Palo Alto is extremely safe," Jonsen said.

But the data probably captures just a small fraction of actual incidents, both officials said.

"We believe there's a lot that's not reported to us," Jonsen said. "We hear about a lot of things third hand that never get reported to the police department."

A nonprofit tracking center, Stop AAPI Hate, recorded 3,794 anti-Asian incidents nationwide since its founding in early 2020 to February 2021. The group has created a reporting system for incidents against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders at stopaapihate.org. The nonprofit was co-founded by the Asian American Studies Department of San Francisco State University, the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council and Chinese for Affirmative Action.

Jonsen and Rosen urge the public to report all potential hate crimes and incidents to local police.

If it's an act of violence, call 911. If it's even an insensitive remark, call your local police department, Jonsen said.

"We will come out and have a conversation. Even if it doesn't rise to the level of a crime, we still want to document it," Jonsen said.

Both officials stressed that hate crimes are motivated by bias and typically involve violence or a criminal act against a person or their property, while hate incidents can include horrible words but don't involve a criminal threat.

"It's the difference between words and actions," Rosen said. "A hate incident is yelling and screaming at someone because they're Jewish, Asian, Muslim, Black — saying horrible slurs against someone, but that's all. It's not threatening to hurt them or throwing a punch at them."

Jonsen spoke April 16 and April 26 at virtual events organized by Palo Alto City Council member Lydia Kou and Los Altos City Council member Lynette Lee Eng in partnership with Avenidas senior center and the cities of Palo Alto and Los Altos.

Rosen spoke virtually on April 20 to the Yale Club of Silicon Valley.

Comments

Carroll Whitaker
Registered user
Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 7, 2021 at 9:22 am
Carroll Whitaker, Duveneck/St. Francis
Registered user
on May 7, 2021 at 9:22 am

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


Bystander
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 7, 2021 at 9:28 am
Bystander, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on May 7, 2021 at 9:28 am

The question has to be asked, who is doing these hateful things? Here in Palo Alto our demographics are such that we live among all sorts of people from all sorts of backgrounds. They are our neighbors, our friends, our teachers, our police and everything else we mingle with. So who are the people who are doing hateful things to each other?

Any type of crime is hateful. Choosing who to victimize is hateful. Whether it is because they are deemed to be wealthy or poor, deemed to be left leaning or right leaning, deemed to be from one ethnic group or another, it is always hateful. If a victim falls into several different categories, it is still hateful.

Nobody should hate anyone, that should go without saying. So who is it doing these things?


Carroll Whitaker
Registered user
Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 7, 2021 at 9:39 am
Carroll Whitaker, Duveneck/St. Francis
Registered user
on May 7, 2021 at 9:39 am

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


John
Adobe-Meadow
on May 7, 2021 at 6:10 pm
John, Adobe-Meadow
on May 7, 2021 at 6:10 pm

@A Clear View- This is Palo Alto!!! We don’t know what reality is!


Welcome To The Jungle
Registered user
Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on May 7, 2021 at 6:48 pm
Welcome To The Jungle, Leland Manor/Garland Drive
Registered user
on May 7, 2021 at 6:48 pm
Lt.Col (ret.) Robert Taylor/US Army
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 8, 2021 at 7:49 am
Lt.Col (ret.) Robert Taylor/US Army , Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on May 8, 2021 at 7:49 am

Societal hatred is cyclical.

Immediately following 9/11, there was anti-Muslim sentiment.

Now (twenty years later) the focus is targeted towards the Asian population stemming from the encumbrances and tragedies related to the coronavirus.

And as for the farfetched notion that white supremacy deprived African Americans of their economic opportunities while stripping Asian Americans of their dignity and respect, no comment in regards to blatant absurdity.

Pursuing higher education or seeking viable vocational skills is how one achieves economic opportunities and if this option is temporarily unavailable, consider joining the service and pursuing one's further education or job training via the G.I. Bill.

There is simply no logic in justifying street thugs who go around tormenting others while blaming society for their anti-social actions.

This country has gone to hell.


Lt.Col (ret.) Robert Taylor/US Army
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 8, 2021 at 8:04 am
Lt.Col (ret.) Robert Taylor/US Army , Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on May 8, 2021 at 8:04 am

[Post removed; successive comments are not permitted.]


Not So Fast
Registered user
Barron Park
on May 8, 2021 at 10:15 am
Not So Fast, Barron Park
Registered user
on May 8, 2021 at 10:15 am
Jessica Xiang
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 8, 2021 at 6:58 pm
Jessica Xiang, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on May 8, 2021 at 6:58 pm
TimR
Registered user
Downtown North
on May 10, 2021 at 9:15 am
TimR, Downtown North
Registered user
on May 10, 2021 at 9:15 am
Local Resident
Registered user
another community
on May 10, 2021 at 10:03 am
Local Resident, another community
Registered user
on May 10, 2021 at 10:03 am

Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Post a comment

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.