SAN FRANCISCO - San Francisco city officials are preparing for Lunar New Year celebrations. But officials are warning the Chinatown community to be on alert for criminals looking to target celebrants.
San Francisco is preparing to welcome the year of the rabbit, and Chinatown leaders say they go into the holiday knowing they have the support of their law enforcement community.
"It's been a great working relationship with SFPD. Supervisor Peskin, now [Board President] Peskin, said it best; all the stations are built equally, but we're a little more equal here," said Malcolm Yeung from the Chinatown Community Development Center.
For more than 25 years community leaders, city leaders and law enforcement have joined together to put the community on alert, that while the city is preparing to celebrate, criminals are preparing to take advantage of whomever they can. "We're working with all of our community partners to implement programs and extra patrols to make sure the community is safe during this time," said Captain Douglas Farmer from the San Francisco Police Department.
Law enforcement says 20 years ago, they were on alert for extortion and blessing scams. Now crime is evolving. "Recently we've been talking about how financial information gets stolen when people get tricked either through a phone call, an email or Wechat and of course we all know about the anti-Asian violence in recent years," said City Attorney David Chiu.
The city's top prosecutor says her office stands ready to make sure those who target the Asian-American community face the consequences. "We have been working diligently to make sure that those who target the AAPI community with violence and any other type of crime are held accountable," said San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins.
The year of the rabbit gets underway January 22. The annual Chinese New Year parade and celebration is scheduled for February 4.