San Francisco rolls out new plan to combat hate crimes

San Francisco leaders rolled out a city-wide response to racist attacks. The city says it has plans to streamline the response to hate crimes and make sure victims get the help they need.

High-profile incidents continue to be caught on camera including an elderly Asian victim shoved to the ground in San Francisco's South of Market Area earlier this month.

City attorney David Chiu acknowledged that even if data shows the number of hate crimes trending down in the city, many still feel like they're under siege. 

"While the data trend is a good trend-part of why we did today's event-is there were still too many events that were happening," said Chiu.

City leaders say a concerted city-wide effort to crack down has helped reduce the number of incidents, but are now pledging a renewed and coordinated effort to reduce hate crimes, and to make sure those who are targeted see justice.

"Our goal is to make sure that we are speaking with one voice to address these challenges," said San Francisco mayor, London Breed. "That we are working collaboratively not pointing the finger, but working collaboratively with the District Attorney’s Office and the police department."

Anh Lê says he was the target of a racist attack in Chinatown in 2019, and that the district attorney at the time allowed the defendants to cut a plea deal. He says this renewed focus on hate crimes is important. 

SEE ALSO: 'I'm sick and tired of this,' Newsom says after California sees another mass shooting in days

"I'm very encouraged, thank you for asking that question," said Lê. "That is the most important fact from today's press conference. I'm very encouraged by that development."

Chief of Police Bill Scott says in light of recent high-profile mass shootings, and the high-profile nature of Lunar New Year, many of his officers will be on overtime to show a strong presence going into upcoming celebrations.

"Even with the number of officers that we're down over time has been key," said Scott. "Basically bridging some of our shortcomings with staffing. We will continue to do that."

RELATED: Police: 17-year-old arrested for kicking elderly woman on Muni bus

The city's district attorney said her office will work to hold those responsible to account. 

"I previously worked as the hate crimes prosecutor here in San Francisco, and I know specifically the impact of those crimes have on our victims and on the overall community," said District Attorney Brooke Jenkins.

City leaders say their efforts don't stop here, they say in the coming months they'll be holding a citywide summit aimed at providing more information about hate crimes, and tools available to victims.