"This task force has been built and will continue to build trust and understanding between the NYPD and with Asian New Yorkers"
Chief of Detectives Rodney Harrison made the announcement on Tuesday, responding to the increase of racist attacks against Asian Americans during the Coronavirus pandemic.
21 anti-Asian hate crimes were reported since 21 March, resulting in 17 arrests. Harrison said the figure is higher than normal.
In May, NYPD had acknowledged that crimes were rising towards the ethnic group.
Language barriers, cultural differences and fear of the police have led to victims being reluctant to report crimes.
The newly created task force includes 25 Asian American officers who can speak a second language.
“This task force has been built and will continue to build trust and understanding between the NYPD and with Asian New Yorkers,” said Harrison.
The task force has been welcomed by the Asian community in the city.
“Since January, before COVID-19 became a national crisis, Asian Americans in New York City have been targeted in unprovoked racist attacks. They have been berated while riding the subway and harassed walking down the street,” said Thomas Yu, co-executive director of Asian Americans for Equality.
“We applaud the city’s decision to create an Asian Hate Crimes Task Force, a move that is long overdue… At the same time, far more needs to be done. There is a critical need for resources at every level of government to fight hate crimes wherever they occur.”
JoAnn Yoo, executive director of the Asian American Federation added, “we also believe in restorative justice principles that intervene before hate crimes happen, which include building community within neighborhoods, getting neighbors to look out for each other, and investing in social safety net programs that deal with the stresses in the community that propel people to lash out at each other.”
Most recently, an Asian American woman was harassed by a racist man on a New York City Subway.
Earlier this month, Asian Americans in New York held a march to show their support for an 89-year-old woman who was set on fire.