Now is the time to reduce the risk of violence. In this article, I-OnAsia discusses the risks and recommends solutions.
I-OnAsia has stepped up physical security and risk advisory support for Asian families in the United States who are being expressly targeted amidst a rise in violent crime. I-OnAsia has a track record of service in this arena, stepping in seven years ago on behalf of Asian families in Paris who were being targeted by gangs.
Worrying data continues to emerge in the United States, showing that Anti Asian hate crime is on the rise. Hate has been a problem in America. Sinophobia during Covid-19 has been up as American attitudes towards China have shifted, and the trends are not looking good.
Anecdotal reports suggest hate crimes against Asians are on the rise. Good data on the problem is hard to come by, however. FBI Hate Crimes statistics are not up-to-date. Under-reporting of hate crimes has always been an issue, and the current problem may be even worse as East Asians are often accused of not being "assertive" enough to get noticed. Nevertheless, the problem has been significant enough that the New York Police Department, one of America's leading local law enforcement agencies, has invested significant resources in combating the problem and established an Asian Hate Crimes Task Force, and named Deputy Inspector Stewart Loo to lead the NYPD's response.
The trends are especially concerning when viewed alongside the rise in violent right-wing protesters who are trained fighters and who often mirror the tactics of ISIS are now on the streets in many American cities. These homegrown violent extremists (HVEs) have been a rising threat in USA since 9/11.
Fueled by hate, patriot groups and armed militias grew 755% in the first three years of the Obama administration. Covid-19 has supercharged this problem.
Physical Security Improvements
Historically, Jewish Americans have been the targets of violent hate crimes. There were almost 2,000 Anti-Semitic attacks in the USA in 2018, according to the Anti-Defamation League. In response, synagogues and museums have hardened their physical security, building safer structures against threats, installing magnetometers and back checkers. Security cameras, better lighting... all of these improvements have reduced the risks of attack.
Today, sites associated with East Asia... companies that have a reputation for hiring overseas workers... and families concerned about their safety may wish to make similar investments in physical security improvements before it is too late.
Risk Awareness & Education
Education is essential to prepare for these greater risks, and to go beyond covering random attacks and violence.
It is important to track risks, such as through the University of Southern California's website on the #virusofhate.
It is also important to consider how to reduce risks for the many good people, whether they are family members or coworkers, who feel a need to join peaceful protests. Street fighting is becoming more militarized, and Antifa and right-wing counterparts are looking for trouble.
Contingency Planning & Law Enforcement Liaison
Contingency plans are essential to protection, detection, and recovery.
One plausible scenario, for example, involves the possibility that an incident will occur in an area where the local law enforcement agency may not have experience in handling hate crimes, or may not wish to categorize an event as a hate crime. (For example, Alabama in 2019 reported zero hate crimes.) A robust contingency plan should consider how to address this issue.
For the past 20 years, I-OnAsia has supported Asian families and executives with crisis management and risk advisory services. This has included submitting complaints to law enforcement. Based on our past experiences, we believe common ground can be found with law enforcement on these issues, because police officers are frequently killed by HVEs. Law enforcement officers do have access to resources to identify and address extremist behavior.
Another plausible scenario may involve a crisis caused by an employee or co-worker who engages in violent activity. A robust contingency plan should consider the appropriate response. As many Asians in the United States are foreign passport holders, one may wish to consider what types of cross border crisis communications may be required.
The downsides for companies that mishandle these issues incorrectly appear significant, not limited around crisis management and social media.
Americas Security Support
I-OnAsia is a full service security consultancy and can support you on these issues across North America.
Now is the time for Asians living in America and visiting the country to consider how best to reduce the risk of violence.