SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) -- Some first responders are coordinating their own effort to help curb street violence from the recent rash of attacks on Asians in San Francisco.
The latest incident that left an Asian victim injured in a violent robbery where she was dragged behind the suspect vehicle has given the group of former and current firefighters another reason to respond.
"We are going to be there in numbers and in strength and do what we need to do to defend these people," said retired San Francisco Fire Department Fire Marshall Paul Chin.
"We know the police officers can't be everywhere. We wish," said John Choy of the San Francisco Fire Department.
San Francisco Police and the Sheriff guided the group of off-duty firefighters as they patrolled the streets of Chinatown for the first time Tuesday.
"While we don't want them to act on criminal activity, we do want everyone to be safe, to keep the members of the community safe, and to watch out for the elderly and vulnerable," said San Francisco Sheriff Paul Miyamoto.
The Asian Firefighters Association and off-duty firefighters handed out cards for a newly launched tip-line to help Chinese speakers report crimes.
"It's a way to connect immediately and to get us the information as soon as we ca so we can act on it," said Miyamoto.
San Francisco Mayor London Breed is promising more help is on the way.
"We're determined to put the resources towards addressing this issue and hopefully be able to turn it around," said Breed.
The group says it hopes to expand the patrols into other neighborhoods as more people and firefighters volunteer to help.
"You see something very promising, which is all the members of the community -- from leadership, public safety, politicians -- all coming together to speak against it and do something about it," said Miyamoto.
"I think it's still in my blood that my main call for being here is to help protect and save lives," said Chin.
for more features.