Rob Bonta, California's first Filipino American Attorney General, attended a roundtable discussion with San Francisco leaders, including Mayor London Breed, on how to combat hate crimes. Bonta plans to hold similar meetings in 13 other cities across the state to look for better ways to prevent hate crimes and to help victims and survivors.
"There is no place for hate in California or anywhere anytime, period," Bonta declared.
He said his office has recorded a dramatic rise in hate crimes in 2020. "We know that across California, hate crimes events increased 31% across the board last year. Anti-Asian hate crimes, in particular, increased an alarming 107%. And right here in San Francisco, home to the LGBTQ rights movement, anti-gay hate crimes accounted for over 25% of all hate crimes in the last decade."
William Scott, chief of the San Francisco Police Department, believed there may even be more hate crimes happening in the city this year because they often go unreported. "We had 81 reported hate crimes but let me tell you this. That does not tell the whole story," Scott said. "59% of those were against people in the AAPI community. And let me point out one thing about that 59%, which is 49 hate crimes, 30 of those were committed by one person who is now in custody and has been filed on by our district attorney."
Meanwhile, Mayor Breed noted San Francisco has already implemented different initiatives to prevent future hate crimes.
"Part of this expansion includes patrolling neighborhoods in the city in response to hate crimes against our Asian community. Another part of the program provides seniors with escorts to go with them when they're buying groceries and seeing doctors so they can feel safe when running their errands," Breed explained. "Our goals with these two programs are to build the trust of our diverse communities and to increase public safety for everyone in San Francisco."
For his part, Bonta, who was appointed by Governor Gavin Newsom five months ago, has established the Racial Justice Bureau and the Office of Community Awareness, Response, and Engagement within the state's Department of Justice in an effort to protect marginalized and underrepresented communities in California.