Vancouver hate crimes, including anti-Asian attacks, more than double during pandemic compared to 2019

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      Although much attention has been focused on racial issues due to Black Lives Matter efforts, discrimination against Asian people continues in Vancouver due to the pandemic.

      The Vancouver Police Department (VPD) reported today (July 16) that there have been 155 hate-related incidents, including anti-Asian attacks, reported so far this year.

      In the same time period in 2019, there were 69 hate-associated reports.

      VPD spokesperson Const. Tania Visintin stated in a news release that this information is being released to raise awareness of this ongoing issue and to encourage any victims to report such experiences to police.

      Investigators are working on 35 files classified as potential hate crimes. While 19 of these cases are being actively investigated, charges are being recommended for 16 cases.

      Meanwhile 103 cases have been concluded due to a lack of a suspect or evidence to identify a suspect with. However, these cases may be reopened in the future if sufficient evidence arises.

      On May 22, the VPD reported that they had received reports about 77 hate-associated incidents whereas they had only received 51 in the same period in the previous year. At that time, there were 29 anti-Asian incidents, compared to only four by the same time last year.

      The Georgia Straight contacted the VPD for further specific information about anti-Asian hate crimes in Vancouver this year, as detailed in this article

      Among the additional measures that VPD has implemented to address these crimes include using data and analytics to increase police presence in specific areas, the formation of hate-crime project team with an incident commander to review files, new reporting forms available in Chinese, and community outreach, including a Zoom meeting with over 300 participants.

      Anyone who is a victim of a hate crime is asked to call 911 while non-emergency incidents can be reported by calling 604-717-3321 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.


      Survey finds prejudice

      In June, the #HealthNotHate campaign, which seeks to refocus racism back to the core issue of health during the pandemic, released the results of a survey conducted in Canada from May 13 to 18 about anti-Asian incidents.

      The survey, which sampled 1,250 Canadians from all backgrounds including 250 Chinese Canadians, found that one in five Chinese Canadians experienced a racist incident during the pandemic. 

      Respondents stated that they had received insults, or were questioned by passersby and store staff, while shopping or using public transit. The incidents often took place while wearing a mask.

      The survey also revealed that 14 percent of Canadians agree with the statement that “Chinese Canadians are more likely to carry the COVID-19 virus than other people in Canada”.

      Meanwhile, 14 percent of respondents also agreed that “eating in Chinese restaurants in Canada is less safe than eating in other types of restaurants due to COVID-19”.

      Almost one-quarter (23 percent) of Canadians agreed with one of the statements in the survey that was used to identify prejudiced attitudes.

      A notable one-third (32 percent) of those aged 18 to 34 years old agreed with at least one of the prejudiced statements.

      Several marketing, media, and film and industry organizations and members contributed to the Vancouver-based #HealthNotHate campaign, initiated by Hamazaki Wong creative director Sonny Wong in May.

      The campaign features screen stars and media personalities such as Steph Song, Ludi Lin, Tzi Ma, Gabrielle Miller, Fiona Forbes, Eric Johnson, Joan-E, John Cassini, Alisen Down, Fred Lee, Manoj Sood, Benjamin Ratner, and more.

      You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at @cinecraig or on Facebook.