Bias-motivated incidents against Asian Americans show a sharp increase across the US as most attackers are let off the hook, according to a recent report.

Hate crimes in the US have spiked by double digits last year, prompting a large number of Asian American to procure guns as a counter measure. 

According to preliminary data from over three dozen American police departments, the bias-motivated incidents in 37 major US cities have increased by 39 percent, while this number has even touched 54.5 percent in the top ten largest metropolitan areas.

The report was compiled by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University.

Brian Levin, executive director of the center, said that the sharp spike in hate crimes extended into the first quarter of 2022 with an average of 30 percent in major American cities. The trend shows no sign of abating. 

“Historically, in midterm election years, hate crimes almost always peak, or come close to peaking much later in the year – often in September and October, with the first quarter usually significantly lower than the rest of the year,” Levin said

“This suggests a turbulent year-end 2022 may be ahead.”

The large cities featured as the places where most of the hate crime incidents took place. Levin said the troubling data coming from these cities can be a "prognosticator of the overall national trend".

According to the FBI report for 2020, 8,263 hate crimes were reported, which is the highest number in 12 years. 

When it comes to Asians, the overall increase in 2021 jumped 224 percent to a record 369 incidents in 20 US largest cities.

South Korean boy band BTS met with President Joe Biden at the White House on Tuesday to discuss the festering issue affecting the country's Asian-origin citizens.

The K-pop stars made brief yet powerful statements to reporters prior to the meeting, calling for a halt in crimes targeting Asian Americans.

"We were devastated by the recent surge of hate crimes, including Asian American hate crimes," band member Jimin said

"To put a stop on this and support the cause, we'd like to take this opportunity to voice ourselves once again."

Low convictions

In the first three quarters of 2021, only seven of 223 reported attacks against Asian Americans in New York City have led to hate crime convictions, according to the Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY).

By analyzing NYPD data and records from the New York court system, AABANY has counted 91 of these attacks that led to an arrest. 41 of 91 of them were charged as hate crimes by local prosecutors and just seven were found guilty from hate crimes, Elaine Chiu, Professor of Law at St. John's University said 

20 of the arrest cases are still pending. 

Chiu added that they also used news reports from "traditional media" for their report.

Despite AABANY analysis differing from official data of NYPD, some experts believe half of all hate crimes are underreported as the police numbers are likely to be undercounted.

Chiu also underlined that 55 percent of the incidents involved a female victim as the highest percentage of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) victims were between the ages of 29 and 49.

Why are anti-Asian hate crimes on the rise? 

Attacks against people of Asian descent have escalated as some politicians and pundits have encouraged Americans to blame China for Covid-19.

The virus was first identified in China, and then-President Donald Trump and others have used racial terms to describe it.

Numerous Asian American organizations say Trump's rhetoric has emboldened people to express anti-Asian or anti-immigrant views.

Asian-Americans are stocking up on guns in order to defend themselves against the increase in hate crimes of which they believe they have become targets since the beginning of the pandemic. 

“There are more Asians being introduced to firearms,” Jimmy Gong, the owner of Jimmy’s Sport Shop in New York told Forbes.

“Before, there was never gun culture in the Asian community. But after the pandemic and all the hate crime going on, there are more Asians buying guns to defend themselves.” 

Source: TRT World