On Wednesday night, Sacramento Police held a community meeting at their Freeport headquarters to address concerns in the South Sacramento community.
According to Sacramento Police, in the past eight weeks, they've seen a resurgence of robberies targeting Asians in the area. This crime trend first spiked in 2016 but decreased by 40 percent after the summer.
The Sacramento County Sheriff's Department said they also saw the crime trend spike last summer in the areas of south Sacramento under their jurisdiction.
From January 2015 to September 2015, the Sheriff's department received 71 reported robberies from victims who identified as Asian or Pacific Islander (API). Those robberies increased by 59 percent in 2016 and since then has gone down by about 19 percent in 2017. They don't have data currently for October 2017.
Both agencies say a big response to this problem is community meetings and outreach.
At the Sacramento Police meeting, detectives identified victims as mostly elderly Asians, who often have language barriers and don't feel comfortable reaching out to police for help.
Detective John Fan said many of the victims carry large sums of cash. He shared an example of a woman who had just withdrawn $5000 cash from a tax return. Many of the victims are followed home by suspects and attacked when they're leaving their cars and going into their houses.
Detective Fan shared with the community that over 50 suspects have been in custody since 2016, many of whom are local gang members and males between 16 and 22 years old. The suspects usually attack in small groups and often carry handguns, with a getaway vehicle waiting down the street.
Detective Fan added that police have questioned many of the suspects about why they are targeting Asians. Many answered because they believe stereotypes that Asians have more money. Fan said since money was the motive and not race, hate crime charges are not likely.
More surveillance cameras and lights are being added to the Stockton Boulevard and Mack Road corridors near businesses. Police add that it's important for people to know their neighbors and to know that police are there to help. They suggest simply yelling 'Help!' when calling 911 if you don't speak English.
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