Anti-Asian hate crime incidents rose by 878% compared to last year, Vancouver police report says
Graffiti on the lion statues in Vancouver's Chinatown neighbourhood is covered up on Wednesday, May 20, 2020.
VANCOUVER -- Hate crime incidents across Vancouver have increased this year compared to 2019, with a dramatic spike in incidents targeting Asian communities specifically, a report presented to the city's police board Thursday says.
According to the Vancouver Police Department's third key performance indicator report for the year, which looks at crime statistics for the first nine months of 2020, there's been a 116 per cent increase in hate crime incidents compared to the same time period in 2019. More specifically, anti-Asian hate crime incidents have seen an 878 per cent increase.
During Thursday's meeting, the police board heard that in the first nine months of 2019, there were nine anti-Asian hate crime incidents. So far this year, there have been 88.
Deputy Chief Const. Howard Chow called those "really concerning numbers," during the meeting. Chow explained that police "right away noticed some concerning trends" when they began closely tracking hate crime incidents in the spring.
As a result, police issued several notices earlier in the year, warning of the uptick in hate crimes.
Some of the anti-Asian incidents police investigated included racial slurs or assaults. For example, Vancouver's Chinese Cultural Centre was repeatedly vandalized. Additionally, in March, police say a 92-year-old Asian man suffering from dementia was attacked at an East Vancouver convenience store.
And, in June, a poll conducted by Research Co. showed nearly one quarter of respondents of East or South Asian descent said they'd been the target of racial slurs or insults throughout the spring.
"We met with a lot of associations, groups, benevolent associations in Chinatown to protect, raise awareness and also appropriately report these types of incidents," Chow said Thursday. "There's been quite a bit of work on this."
The report presented Thursday also showed total assaults in the city have increased by 1.8 per cent, and every patrol district said it's experienced an increase in serious assaults this year. Police said intimate partner violence "is at an all-time high," and such incidents are 4.6 per cent higher than last year.
"These files are very time-consuming for patrol officers, often consuming an entire shift," the report says.
Property crimes, however, are down 20 per cent, including a 37 per cent decrease in thefts from automobiles.
Overall, the report says the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a "historical anomaly" in crime stats.