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Asian American Attacks: Growing Anxiety Among Bay Area Residents Over Unprovoked Assaults

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) -- There's growing concern in Bay Area Asian-American communities in light of the seemingly random attacks that don't appear to be stopping.

"I'm so afraid now. I don't even go out as much if I don't need to," said San Francisco resident Jenny Chen.


Thousands of anti-Asian hate incidents have been documented by the national coalition Stop AAPI Hate since the start of the pandemic. The majority in California, and hundreds of cases in the Bay Area.

"It's very alarming Why is this happening all of a sudden? Is it related to the virus," said San Francisco resident Freda Tong.

"I think the previous government's rhetoric has fueled the hate," said San Francisco resident Aaron Chang.

The constant fear of being attacked can have lasting psychological impacts.

Dr. Claire Nicogossian, a professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at Brown University, discussed how some of those impacts might manifest.

"People who identify and are part of that group are going to have trauma symptoms as if it has happened to them," said Nicogossian. "Sadness, depression, hopelessness, sleeplessness, loss of appetite, feeling unsafe, ashamed and demoralized, not wanting to leave your home. These are all symptoms of experiencing a hate crime."

"Something needs to be done about this. There needs to be more police, security. This needs to stop," said Chen.

The STOP AAPI Hate group has been documenting these incidents and says more than a third of these attacks have taken place in businesses and about 25% on public streets.

Hate crimes against Asian Americans rose 150% in 2020, even as hate crimes overall declined. In January, a 91-year-old man was shoved to the ground in Oakland's Chinatown. Another assault in San Francisco killed 84-year-old Vichar Ratanapakdee. Last week, a brutal robbery and attack left 75-year-old Pak Ho dead in Oakland last week.

The wave of incidents has sparked rallies throughout the Bay Area condemning anti-Asian violence and more than $1.4 million in state funding to track and stop the attacks.

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