A Palo Alto resident's Black Lives Matter sign was defaced last week by someone who replaced the word "Black" with "Asian," prompting the Police Department to investigate the matter as a hate crime, the agency said Tuesday.
A woman in her 60s called police on April 5 at 4:08 p.m. to report the incident, which occurred in the 3300 block of Park Boulevard of the Ventura neighborhood. The sign, which was at the resident's home, was vandalized between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., according to a police press release.
An adhesive was used to cover the word "Black" with a piece of paper bearing the word "Asian." The resident attempted to remove the paper but it destroyed the original sign, which she valued at $10, police said.
The incident was the third time the sign had been tampered with. The prior cases occurred October 2021 and February 2022. Both were also documented by police as hate incidents. An unknown person had placed an "Asian Lives Matter" sign over the resident’s sign, causing no damage.
Police suspect all three incidents are likely related, but they don't know why the residence continues to be targeted, according to the release. The department has had no similar incidents involving yard signs reported so far this year.
"Officers will thoroughly investigate any reported hate crimes in Palo Alto, including stolen or destroyed yard signs if the incident appears to be motivated by the victim's real or perceived protected social group," the department said.
"The City of Palo Alto strongly denounces hate crimes of all kinds and encourages community members to promptly report these incidents by calling our 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413 or 9-1-1 if it is an emergency," the police press release said.
To view details on other hate crimes reported in Palo Alto, visit cityofpaloalto.org/PAPDnews and search by keyword "hate."
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the department's 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can be emailed to [email protected] or sent by text message or voicemail to 650-383-8984.