HOUSTON – Houston police stepped up patrols in Asiatown Wednesday in the wake of the Atlanta massage parlor murders.
HPD said they have not seen an increase in hate crimes against Asians in Houston, but continue to monitor for threats.
The request for added security came from state representative Gene Wu.
“We were dreading the day when there would be a mass shooting of Asian Americans and unfortunately that day has come,” he said.
Although authorities have not said the Atlanta case was a hate crime, some members of Houston’s Asian American community said they still felt on edge and were on alert.
“I have an elderly mother that I take and I usually escort her wherever she needs to go if she needs to go out. Just because of that type of violence. You don’t know when it’s going to happen or where it’s going to happen,” said Ellas Seto.
According to the nonprofit group, Stop Asian American Pacific Islander Hate, there have been at least 503 reports of racist incidents against Asian Americans so far in 2021. In 2020, there were nearly 3300.
The uptick began last March at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the group.
“When President Trump deemed it the Chinese flu or the Kung flu, it seemed he was scapegoating Chinese Americans or Asian Americans,” said attorney Gordon Quan, the first Asian American elected to Houston city council and a board member of the Asia Society.
HPD said they are working with community groups to plan a virtual town hall to address concerns about hate crimes against Asians and encourage anyone who has been a victim to report incidents to the police.